Three of the pilot projects that we propose below draw directly on the research described in 3.1 of the Overview to this application. Two of our proposed pilot projects draw on our eariier research on the impact of defaults on participation in employer-sponsored 401 (k) savings plans. This research shows that savings plan participation is substantially higher when employees must opt out of savings plan participation (automatic enrollment) rather than when employees must opt into the savings plan (Madrian and Shea 2001;Choi et al. 2002, 2004a, 2006;Choi, Laibson and Madrian 2004;Beshears et al. 2008). Our proposed pilot projects extend this research to the domains of health, specifically prescription drug adherence and influenza vaccines (Projects 1 and 3 below). Three of our proposed pilot projects draw on our eariier research on simplified enrollment choices and savings plan participation. Choi, Laibson, and Madrian (forthcoming) and Beshears et al. (2006) show that when employees must opt into their employer's savings plan, participation rates are substantially higher when the enrollment process is simplified by providing employees with the option of choosing a pre-selected contribution rate and asset allocation bundle. When such an option is available, employees can effectively separate the participation decision from the more complicated decision about the most appropriate contribution rate and asset allocation for their circumstances. This research is reflected in our pilot projects on prescription drug adherence and influenza vaccines (Projects 1, 2 and 3 below). Our two proposed pilot projects on prescription drug adherence (Projects 1 and 2) are also informed by our previous research on how requiring an active participation decision affects savings plan participation (Carroll et al 2008). This research shows that when employees must opt into savings plan participation, enrollment rates are substantially higher when procrastination is forestalled by requiring employees to make either an explicit affirmative or negative participation election within a specified time frame. The last of our proposed pilot projects draws on the research of social psychologists on peer pressure and social comparisons (Asch 1951;Festinger 1954;Jones and Gerard 1967;Cason and Mui 1997;Suls and Wheeler 2000;Gerber, Green, and Larimer 2008) and that of economists on information aggregation (e.g., Banerjee 1992). We are in the eariy stages of evaluating a very simple prototype of an intervention designed to encourage savings plan participation by giving employees information on the fraction of their coworkers participating in their employer's savings plan. The intervention has been implemented, although we have not yet received data on the effects from the firm that is cooperating with us on this research.
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