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Evidence-Based Policy-Making Seminar (EBPM): "Goal Bracketing in Saving Decisions"

Picture of Kersin Grosch
Wednesday, February 14, 2024, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm

Our EBPM Seminar Series at the Department of Public Policy brings external academics and practitioners to discuss their ongoing research. This event series prioritizes understanding how data, observations, and ultimately evidence is approached by each researcher. 



We study the impact of soft commitment devices on savings in a lab-in-the-field experiment, taking into account individual factors like gender, numeracy, cognitive reflection, and economic preferences. In a classroom setting, we simulate a three-week constant weekly income, provided as windfall money. There's a 50% chance of an economic shock in the fourth week. Participants can accumulate buffer stock by saving part or all of their income. They create a weekly savings plan initially. In our experimental treatments, we vary reminders, presenting either the aggregate savings plan (broad bracketing) or the weekly savings plan (narrow bracketing). Compared to the control condition with no reminders, broad bracketing increases savings and the likelihood of reaching savings plans, while narrow bracketing shows no such effect.


Kerstin Grosch, Martin G. Kocher

About the Speaker

Dr. Kerstin Grosch is an assistant professor at WU Vienna University of Economics and Business and post-doctoral fellow at the IHS. She specializes in behavioral and experimental studies and is particularly experienced in the design, conduct and analysis of lab-in-the-field experiments. Her research examines how individual preferences and personality traits can explain behavior under different incentives in realms of compliance and labor market outcomes such as occupational choice or collegiality at the workplace. More recently, she has started researching children's and adolescents' behavior.