Disparities in financial literacy, pension planning, and saving behavior

Last registered on September 08, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Disparities in financial literacy, pension planning, and saving behavior
Initial registration date
September 01, 2022

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
September 08, 2022, 10:32 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator


Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation
PI Affiliation

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Financial literacy affects wealth accumulation, and pension planning plays a key role in this relationship. In a large field experiment, we employ a digital pension aggregation tool to confront a treatment group with a simplified overview of their current pension claims across all pillars of the pension system. We combine survey and administrative bank data to measure the effects on actual saving behavior. Access to the tool decreases pension uncertainty for treated individuals. Average savings increase---especially for the financially less literate. We conclude that simplification of pension information can potentially reduce disparities in pension planning and savings behavior.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Bucher-Koenen, Tabea et al. 2022. "Disparities in financial literacy, pension planning, and saving behavior." AEA RCT Registry. September 08. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.10010-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


We test the introduction of a digital pension planning aid, the Pension dashboard that provide treated individuals with a simplified overview of their current pension claims across all pillars of the pension system.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Saving and pension planning behavior from bank administrative data and surveys.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Our data set comprises information from up to three surveys, the uploaded pension documents, and administrative data from the two cooperating banks (monthly account balances and several demographic variables)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Subjective pension overview
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Measured by their self-indicated agreement with the statement ’I have a good overview of my accumulated pension entitlements today’—
evaluated on a 7-point Likert scale.

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Participants are recruited with the help of two large German banks with branches all over Germany. These banks invited their clients to participate in the experiment on their website after clients logged out from their online bank accounts. Participants who clicked on the link were asked to complete a questionnaire (\textit{Survey I}). The survey covered questions on retirement planning and saving behavior, self-perceived pension overview, financial literacy, and demographics. We used a between-subject design. Participants assigned to the treatment group were encouraged to register for the pension dashboard and upload all available pension documents to the dashboard platform. From these data points, aggregate pension claims for each user are calculated and presented in a personal pension dashboard. Once the calculations were complete, an email with information that the dashboard is ready was sent out. Immediately following the presentation of the pension dashboard, the treatment group was invited to assess the content and comprehensibility of the dashboard service (\textit{Survey II}). About one year after the start of the experiment, participants in both the treatment and control groups were re-contacted via email to complete a follow-up survey (\textit{Survey III}) about their self-perceived pension overview and current savings behavior.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
The registration link used by the bank clients assigns participants to the treatment and control groups. It was changed day-wise.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
3000 individuals
Sample size: planned number of observations
3000 individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
1009 treated individuals, 1885 individuals in the control group
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials