Environment and Behavior

Gordon L. Clark, Kendra Strauss and Janelle Knox-Hayes

in Saving for Retirement

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199600854
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738104 | DOI:
Environment and Behavior

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A number of disciplines are preoccupied by questions of emphasis and balance, straddling the divide between formal models of market structure and performance and broader conceptions of human life. Here, we work from first principles: human nature and the scope of rationality. We downplay deliberation and calibrated judgment in favor of customary modes of behavior: intuition, habit, and imitation. A way of conceptualizing the environment or context is suggested with reference to culture and society, although it is also argued that a truly geographical conception of context would be explicit about the scale of effect. To illustrate, we refer to recent published research on financial decision-making and summarize the findings and logic of our research program on pension planning for the scale and scope of decision-making. In conclusion, we ask whether the notion of “personhood” embedded in much of the literature is adequate for understanding the life-course of people who are the “objects” of research. We reconceptualize personhood and demonstrate that savings intentions and expectations can be usefully framed through the lens of our respondents’ age, gender, income, and much more. Furthermore, our intimate relationships are crucial for understanding who among us has confidence in planning for retirement and indeed whether planning for retirement is even possible.

Keywords: behavior; intuition; habit; imitation

Chapter.  9879 words. 

Subjects: Pensions

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