Behavioral Economics at Tax Time
This Webinar shared findings from two current projects that aim to help us understand what works to encourage low-income tax filers to save and invest part of their tax refund. To start off the webinar, Joe Valenti, Director of Asset Building at the Center for American Progress, explained why income tax filing season is a unique opportunity to study how to influence financial decisions and why we are seeing such a wealth of research on behavioral economics at this point in time. Next, Dr. Michal Grinstein-Weiss, Associate Director of the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, introduced the Refund to Savings initiative, a project of Duke University and the Washington University in St. Louis, in which Intuit’s TurboTax Free File software prompts filers to save their refund for future needs. Finally, Gayle Hamilton, Senior Fellow in the Low-Wage Workers and Communities Policy Area at MDRC, presented interim findings from the SaveUSA evaluation, a randomized control trial that seeks to demonstrate whether short-term incentivized savings can lead to longer-term savings habits, reduce material hardships, and improve the overall financial well-being of participants.