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The effect of a pension app on voluntary retirement savings to occupational pension plans
Last registered on October 15, 2020

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
The effect of a pension app on voluntary retirement savings to occupational pension plans
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0006590
Initial registration date
October 15, 2020
Last updated
October 15, 2020 12:31 PM EDT
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
ETH Zurich
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
ETH Zurich
PI Affiliation
ETH Zurich
Additional Trial Information
Status
On going
Start date
2020-08-01
End date
2021-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
We investigate the effect of a pension app on voluntary savings for retirement. Individuals insured in two pension funds in Switzerland will receive a letter nudging them to register to the pension funds' digital information application. We aim to learn what factors determine the demand for pension-related information and what are the barriers to voluntary savings for retirement. The pension funds will send out three versions of the invitation letter to individuals who are not yet registered in the pension app: a baseline version with generic information about the application, a version highlighting that the pension app alllows to calculate tax benefits, and a version stressing the simplified application process for voluntary savings with the application. A fourth group will not receive an invitation letter and acts as the control group. We evaluate first, whether the letters have an effect on the probability to register within the application and, second, whether using the application impacts voluntary saving decisions of the insured individuals.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Daminato, Claudio, Massimo Filippini and Fabio Haufler. 2020. "The effect of a pension app on voluntary retirement savings to occupational pension plans." AEA RCT Registry. October 15. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6590-1.0.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
The information provided by the pension app covers several dimensions:
First, it provides general information about the pension system itself, individual choice options and on the performance (return) of the pension fund in the last years.
Second, it informs insured individuals about the status quo of their personal pension wealth in the occupational pension plan: information about the current account balance, projected expected retirement wealth given constant contributions and projected expected pension benefits given constant contributions.
Third, it covers the aspect of planning additional savings: It allows to interactively simulate voluntary contributions to the occupational pension plan. The application calculates and informs about the expected tax savings and the projected changes in retirement wealth and annual pension benefits at retirement due to a lump-sum contribution today. Moreover, the digital application allows to apply directly in the app for additional contributions.
Last, it allows to interactively simulate the projected retirement wealth with different interest rates.

Individuals insured in two different pension funds in Switzerland will receive an invitation letter with information regarding the pension funds' digital information application and the registration process. Invitation letters will only be sent to individuals who are not yet registered in the application and had the chance to register previously. The funds will send out three versions of the letter: a baseline version with generic information about the application, a version stressing the possiblity to calculate tax benefits in the application and a version stressing the simplified application process for voluntary savings within the application. A fourth group will not receive any letter and acts as the control group.
Intervention Start Date
2020-10-19
Intervention End Date
2020-10-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
registration status in pension application, voluntary contributions to the pension fund, voluntary withdrawls from the pension fund
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Individuals insured with two pension funds in Switzerland and not yet reigstered in the pension application are randomly assigned to four equally large groups. The first acts as the control group and the other three groups receive each a different version of an invitation letter. The pension funds send the letters to the individuals in their preferred language (German, French, Italian or English) all at the same time.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
randomization done in office by a computer with the program STATA
Randomization Unit
the unit of randomization is the insured individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
1
Sample size: planned number of observations
8658 insured individuals
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
2107 individuals in control group, 2191 individuals receiving letter 1, 2196 individuals receiving letter 2, 2164 individuals receiving letter 3
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Minimum detectable effect for the probability of being registered in the application is a change of 4 percentage points with a 95% confidence level. This corresponds to a change of 15% compared to the pre-treatment level. Minimum detectable effect for the probability of making a voluntary contribution is a change of 1.5 percentage points with a 95% confidence level. This corresponds to a change of 50% compared to the pre-treatment level.
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number