Increasing TSP Enrollment Rates through Active Choice
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?
OES 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?
OES ran two pilots at large Army installations — Fort Bragg and Fort Lewis — testing 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.
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.