Presenting TSP enrollment as an active choice during in-processing increased enrollment by 6-7%

Military person filling out paper form

Military person filling out paper form

What was the challenge?

The Federal Government operates a workplace savings program called the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) for all of its employees. While civilian employees are automatically enrolled in TSP, Servicemembers are not. Roughly 56% of the more than 1.3 million active duty service members in the Armed Forces are not currently enrolled in any TSP plan, and only around 1% newly enroll each month.

What was the program change?

We developed several interventions applying research insights to be used at in-processing events and orientations on bases. The interventions included a form prompting active choice, an in-person activity prompting immediate action, an informational cover sheet, and a video.

How did the evaluation work?

We ran two pilots at large Army installations — Fort Bragg and Fort Lewis — evaluating active choice interventions during the orientations that occur as service members are newly assigned to a base.


What was the impact?

During the five-week period including the pilot at both bases, the enrollment rate was 10.47% at Fort Bragg and 8.39% at Fort Lewis, compared to a maximum of 1.86% at the other three bases.

Related publication:
Jacob Goldin, Tatiana Homonoff, and William Tucker-Ray. Retirement contribution rate nudges and plan participation: evidence from a field experiment, American Economic Review 107, no. 5 (2017): 456-461.





Project Type

Impact evaluation of program change




Retirement Security

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