DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2019.00418

Advances in Psychological Science (心理科学进展) 2019/27:3 PP.417-427

The nudging role of behavioral economics in retirement savings decisions: Current situation and future prospects

Richard Thaler was awarded the 2017 Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel for his contributions to behavioral economics. Based on bounded rationality, procrastination, loss aversion, and self-control, Thaler proposed the "Save More Tomorrow" plan that nudge employees to save more for their retirement by increasing the amount saved with every salary raised. Starting at the beginning, Thaler suggested that automatic enrollment can be used as the default option for employees to increase 401(k) participation. At the later stage, automatic escalation, which automatically allocates a fraction of the employees' future pay increase to 401(k) contribution, is proposed to nudge the increase of contribution rates. The SMarT program, which was labeled as libertarian paternalism, can result in not only increased participation and contribution rates, but also the broad diversification of portfolios. The SMarT program profoundly affected policy in England, New Zealand, and other countries in which governments have established policies to make automatic enrollment the default option for employees to participate in retirement savings plan. Researchers have also been inspired to investigate the mechanism of retirement savings behavior. We first analyze the present status given that the three primary sources of retirement income are disproportionate in China. Then, we discuss and suggest nudge methods to incorporate behavioral economic insights, such as default option, framing effect, mental account and manipulating the "two-route loss" to "one-route loss" to promote retirement savings. Improvements to the participation and contribution rates can also be nudged by designing a plan and formulating a policy on retirement savings in China.

Key words:retirement saving,nudge,automatic enrollment,automatic escalation,loss aversion,routes

ReleaseDate:2019-03-01 06:48:04

董克用, 姚余栋. (2017). 养老金融蓝皮书:中国养老金融发展报告(2017). 北京:社会科学文献出版社.

Gigerenzer, G., 栾胜华, 刘永芳. (2019). 人非理性且难教化? 论支持自由家长主义的证据. 心理学报, 51(4), 395-406.

理查德·塞勒. (2016). "错误的行为" (王晋 译). 北京:中信出版社.

李纾. (2016a). 既非"胡萝卜"也非"大棒":助推社会发展的一条新捷径. 管理视野, (7), 92-96.

李纾. (2016b). 决策心理:齐当别之道. 上海:华东师范大学出版社.

李纾. (2017). 如何提高员工的养老金储蓄率? 管理视野, 12月, 88-92.

刘欢, 梁竹苑, 李纾. (2009). 得失程数的变化:损失规避现象的新视点. 心理学报, 41(12), 1123-1132.

门杰丹, 张扬. (2011). 男子中奖180万元难填欲壑, 挪用495万公款博彩. 2018-04-04取自http://www.chinanews. com/sh/2011/07-22/3204047.shtml

人力资源和社会保障部. (2017). 2017年前三季度人力资源和社会保障统计数据. 2018-03-29 取自

孙涛, 黄少安. (2010). 非正规制度影响下中国居民储蓄、消费和代际支持的实证研究——兼论儒家文化背景下养老制度安排的选择. 经济研究, (s1), 51-61.

王增勤. (2005). 博彩中奖后的毁灭. 检察风云, 4, 64-65.

杨燕绥, 闫俊, 刘方涛. (2012). 中国延税型养老储蓄政策的路径选择. 武汉金融, (8), 8-11.

赵学农. (2017). 个人商业养老保险市场分析与选择. 上海立信会计金融学院学报, (6), 50-55.

中华人民共和国国家统计局. (主编). (2017). 中国统计年鉴2017. 北京:中国统计出版社.

Benartzi, S., Beshears, J., Milkman, K. L., Sunstein, C. R., Thaler, R. H., Shankar, M.,... Galing, S. (2017). Should governments invest more in nudging? Psychological Science, 28(8), 1041-1055.

Benartzi, S., & Thaler, R. H. (2013). Behavioral economics and the retirement savings crisis. Science, 339(6124), 1152-1153.

Benartzi, S., & Thaler, R. H. (2007). Heuristics and biases in retirement savings behavior. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(3), 81-104.

Beshears, J. L., Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., & Madrian, B. C. (2006). The importance of default options for retirement savings outcomes:Evidence from the united states. In B. J. Jeffery, J. B. Liebman, & D. A. Wise. (Eds.), Social security policy in a changing environment. (pp. 167-195). Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

Beshears, J., Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., & Madrian, B. C. (2013). Simplification and saving. Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 95, 130-145.

Beshears, J., Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., Madrian, B. C., & Milkman, K. L. (2015). The effect of providing peer information on retirement savings decisions. Journal of Finance, 70(3), 1161-1201.

Carroll, G. D., Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., Madrian, B. C., & Metrick, A. (2009). Optimal defaults and active decisions. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 124(4), 1639-1674.

Chetty, R., Friedman, J. N., Leth-Petersen, S., Nielsen, T. H., & Olsen, T. (2014). Active vs. passive decisions and crowd-out in retirement savings accounts:Evidence from Denmark. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 129(3), 1141-1219.

Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., & Madrian, B. C. (2004). Plan design and 401(k) savings outcomes. SSRN Electronic Journal, 57(2), 275-298.

Choi, J. J., Laibson, D., & Madrian, B. C. (2009). Reducing the complexity costs of 401(k) participation:The case of quick enrollment. In D. A. Wise, (Ed.), Developments in the economics of aging (pp. 57-82). Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

Duflo, E., Gale, W., Liebman, J., Orszag, P., & Saez, E. (2007). Savings incentives for low-and moderate-income families in the united states:Why is the saver's credit not more effective? Journal of the European Economic Association, 5(2-3), 647-661.

Duflo, E., & Saez, E. (2002). Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan:The influence of colleagues' choices. Journal of Public Economics, 85(1), 121-148.

Duflo, E., & Saez, E. (2003). The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions:Evidence from a randomized experiment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(3), 815-842.

Dugas, C. (2002, July 19). Retirement crisis looms as many come up short. USA Today.

Ersner-Hershfield, H., Garton, M. T., Ballard, K., Samanez-larkin, G. R., & Knutson, B. (2009). Don't stop thinking about tomorrow:Individual differences in future self-continuity account for saving. Judgment and Decision Making, 4(4), 280-286.

Gilovich, T., Griffin, D., & Kahneman, D. (2002). Heuristics and biases:The psychology of intuitive judgment. New York, NY, US:Cambridge University Press. (2008). National Employment Savings Trust (NEST). Retrieved April 4, 2018, from

Hershfield, H. E. (2011). Future self-continuity:How conceptions of the future self transform intertemporal choice. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1235, 30-43.

Hershfield, H. E., Goldstein, D. G., Sharpe, W. F., Fox, J., Yeykelis, L., Carstensen, L. L., & Bailenson, J. N. (2011). Increasing saving behavior through age-progressed renderings of the future self. Journal of Marketing Research, 48(1), S23-S37.

ICI.ORG. (2015). "2015 Investment Company Fact Book——A review of trends and activities in the US. Investment Company Industry". Retrieved June 10, 2018, from

Kahneman, D., & Tversky, A. (1979). Prospect theory:An analysis of decision making under risk. Econometrica, 47(2), 263-291.

Löckenhoff, C. E., De Fruyt, F., Terracciano, A., McCrae, R. R., De Bolle, M., Costa, P. T.,... Yik, M. (2009). Perceptions of aging across 26 cultures and their culture-level associates. Psychology and Aging, 24(4), 941-954.

Madrian, B. C., & Shea, D. F. (2001). The power of suggestion:Inertia in 401(k) participation and savings behavior. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 116(4), 1149-1187.

Munnell, A., Webb, A., & Delorme, L. (2006). Retirements at risk:A new national retirement risk index. Boston College Center for Retirement Research, June.

New Zealand Government. (2007). Retirement saving made easy. Retrieved April 4, 2018, from

Rebonato, R. (2012). Taking liberties:A critical examination of Libertarian paternalism. Basingstoke, UK:Palgrave Macmillan.

Skinner, J. (2007). Are you sure you're saving enough for retirement? Journal of Economic Perspectives, 21(3), 59-80.

Thaler, R. H. (1994). Psychology and savings policies. American Economic Review, 84(2), 186-192.

Thaler, R. H., & Benartzi, S. (2004). Save more tomorrowTM:Using behavioral economics to increase employee saving. Journal of Political Economy, 112(S1), S164-S187.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. (2017). Press release:The prize in economic sciences 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2018, from

Wechsler, H., Nelson, T. E., Lee, J. E., Seibring, M., Lewis, C., & Keeling, R. P. (2003). Perception and reality:A national evaluation of social norms marketing interventions to reduce college students' heavy alcohol use. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 64(4), 484-494.