Many Americans are financially underprepared for retirement, yet they claim Social Security retirement benefits at the earliest opportunity, which substantially reduces the size of their monthly benefit. This problem has not been studied in the consumer literature, and most previous research on the claiming decision and possible interventions to encourage delaying claiming has focused on economic factors. We model the claiming decision as an intertemporal choice and apply a Query Theory process model to develop and test four choice architecture interventions. We find that display interventions changing the graphical presentation of decision-relevant information do not significantly affect preferred claiming age, but show that process interventions, which change how consumers approach the claiming decision, do produce significant delays in preferred claiming age. Our results provide tests of Query Theory, increase our understanding of this consequential decision, and add to the toolbox of possible interventions for important intertemporal choice decisions.
Appelt, Kirstin, Melissa Knoll, Eric Johnson, and Jonathan Westfall. "Time to Retire: Why Americans Claim Benefits Early and How to Encourage Them to Delay." Behavioral Science and Policy 1, no. 1 (2015): 53-62.
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