NBER

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305

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NBER Program Affiliations: PE
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow
Institutional Affiliation: Stanford University

NBER Working Papers and Publications

July 2020How Much to Save? Decision Costs and Retirement Plan Participation
with Tatiana Homonoff, Richard W. Patterson, William L. Skimmyhorn: w27575
Deciding how much to save for retirement can be complicated. Drawing on a field experiment conducted with the Department of Defense, we study whether such complexity depresses participation in an employer-sponsored retirement saving plan. We find that simplifying one dimension of the enrollment decision, by highlighting a potential rate at which non-participants might contribute, increases participation in the plan. Similar communications that did not include a highlighted rate yield smaller effects. The results highlight how reducing complexity on the intensive margin of a decision (how much to contribute) can affect extensive margin behavior (whether to contribute at all) in a setting of policy interest.
December 2019Health Insurance and Mortality: Experimental Evidence from Taxpayer Outreach
with Ithai Z. Lurie, Janet McCubbin: w26533
We evaluate a randomized pilot study in which the IRS sent informational letters to 3.9 million taxpayers who paid a tax penalty for lacking health insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Drawing on administrative data, we study the effect of the intervention on taxpayers’ subsequent health insurance enrollment and mortality. We find the intervention led to increased coverage in the two years following treatment and that this additional coverage reduced mortality among middle-aged adults over the same time period. Our results provide the first experimental evidence that health insurance reduces mortality.
October 2018Revealed Preference Analysis with Framing Effects
with Daniel Reck: w25139
In many settings, decision-makers' behavior is observed to vary based on seemingly arbitrary factors. Such framing effects cast doubt on the welfare conclusions drawn from revealed preference analysis. We relax the assumptions underlying that approach to accommodate settings in which framing effects are present. Plausible restrictions of varying strength permit either partial- or point-identification of preferences for the decision-makers who choose consistently across frames. Recovering population preferences requires understanding the empirical relationship between decision-makers’ preferences and their sensitivity to the frame. We develop tools for studying this relationship and illustrate them with data on automatic enrollment into pension plans.

Published: Jacob Goldin & Daniel Reck, 2020. "Revealed-Preference Analysis with Framing Effects," Journal of Political Economy, vol 128(7), pages 2759-2795.

August 2016The Effects of Pre-Trial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges
with Will Dobbie, Crystal Yang: w22511
Over 20 percent of prison and jail inmates in the United States are currently awaiting trial, but little is known about the impact of pre-trial detention on defendants. This paper uses the detention tendencies of quasi-randomly assigned bail judges to estimate the causal effects of pre-trial detention on subsequent defendant outcomes. Using data from administrative court and tax records, we find that being detained before trial significantly increases the probability of a conviction, primarily through an increase in guilty pleas. Pre-trial detention has no detectable effect on future crime, but decreases pre-trial crime and failures to appear in court. We also find suggestive evidence that pre-trial detention decreases formal sector employment and the receipt of employment- and tax-relate...

Published: Will Dobbie & Jacob Goldin & Crystal S. Yang, 2018. "The Effects of Pre-Trial Detention on Conviction, Future Crime, and Employment: Evidence from Randomly Assigned Judges," American Economic Review, vol 108(2), pages 201-240.

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