Auto-enrollment, Matching, and Participation in 401(k) Plans

di Vincenzo Andrietti; CeRP WP N. 154/15

This study uses plan-level annual data from Form 5500s to analyze the effects of automatic enrollment and employer matching on 401(k) plan participation rates, and the effect of automatic enrollment on employer average match rates. The potential endogeneity of these 401(k) plan provisions is addressed by exploiting the panel structure of the data. The results indicate that while both auto-enrollment and average match rates have positive and significant effects on plan participation rates, the effect of auto-enrollment is substantially higher. Moreover, auto-enrollment is found to have positive and significant effects on average match rates.

Published: December 2015