The Impact of Automatic Enrollment on 401(k) Match Rates: A Methodological Note

Research Report

The Impact of Automatic Enrollment on 401(k) Match Rates: A Methodological Note

February 3, 2010

Abstract

How employers respond to automatic pension enrollment is important to the debate over how to increase retirement savings for all Americans. We recently completed a study showing that employers with autoenrollment have lower match rates than those without it, suggesting that employers may be trying to offset their higher costs. In contrast, the Employee Benefit Research Institute finds that employers with automatic enrollment have increased match rates since 2005. The two studies measure different concepts and use different time frames. A large sample of 401(k) plans reporting match rates before and after autoenrollment is needed to fully understand employer responses.

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