Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Determinants of Participation and Contribution Rates
Coauthor(s): Gur Huberman, Sheena Iyengar.
Records of 793,794 employees eligible to participate in 647 defined contribution pension plans are studied. About 71% of them choose to participate in the plans, and of the participants, 12% choose to contribute the maximum allowed, $10,500. The main findings are (other things equal) (i) participation rates, contributions and (most remarkably) savings rates increase with compensation; on average, a $10,000 increase in compensation is associated with a 3.7% higher participation probability and $900 higher contribution; (ii) women's participation probability is 6.5% higher than men's and they contribute almost $500 more than men; (iii) participation probabilities are similar for employees covered and not covered by DB plans, but those covered by DB plans contribute more to the DC plans; (iv) the availability of a match by the employer increases employees' participation and contributions; the effect is strongest for low-income employees; (v) participation rates, especially among low-income employees, are higher when company stock is an investable fund.
Source: Journal of Financial Services Research
Huberman, Gur, Sheena Iyengar, and Wei Jiang. "Defined Contribution Pension Plans: Determinants of Participation and Contribution Rates." Journal of Financial Services Research 31, no. 1 (2007): 1-32.