Briefs & Summaries Financial Behaviors Financial Inclusion

Refund to Savings: 2013 Results From a National Experiment to Build Financial Stability at Tax Time

In 2013, the R2S team conducted a national randomized control trial testing the effectiveness of techniques informed by insights from behavioral economics to increase deposits of tax refunds into savings vehicles. The large-scale experiment was followed by a two-wave, longitudinal survey to gain deeper insight into the financial lives of LMI households and to better understand how tax refunds are used over time. The results of the R2S experiment, detailed in this brief, demonstrate that low cost, low-touch behavioral interventions can be used to increase both the proportion of tax filers who deposit their refunds into savings vehicles and the amounts of those deposits.

Project: Refund to Savings (R2S)


Grinstein-Weiss, M., Comer, K., Russell, B., Key, C., Perantie, D. C., & Ariely, D. (2014, February). Refund to Savings: 2013 results from a national experiment to build financial stability at tax time (CSD Research Brief No. 14-04). St. Louis: Washington University, Center for Social Development.