“Individual Heterogeneity and Pension Choices: How to Communicate an Effective Message? “

by Giovanni Gallo, Costanza Torricelli, Arthur van Soest; CeRP WP N. 172/17

We use the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM) to explain how communication influences pension choices in a heterogeneous population. We exploit the 2007 Italian reform that allowed transferring future severance pay contributions into a pension fund and was accompanied by an information campaign with a clear message. According to ELM, individuals follow either a “central route” or a “peripheral route” depending on their motivation and ability to process, and eventually change or retain their initial attitude. Based on data from the Bank of Italy Survey on Household Income and Wealth, we find that not only financial literacy plays a relevant role in the employees’ elaboration process, but also the individual’s comprehension of the specific choice object, the personal relevance of the decision, cognitive skills, and contextual elements (e.g. unions, employer pressure). These considerations have policy implications for the effectiveness of information messages in the pension domain.

Published: May 2017