Improving Sound Financial Decision-making

Doctoral Thesis of Minou M.B. van der Werf


This dissertation includes four different experimental field studies. In each study, we focussed on a different, societally relevant problem within the realm of financial decision-making in the Netherlands. In Chapter 2 we investigate whether we could increase saving behaviour, by giving participants feedback about their progress towards their savings goal. In Chapter 2 we encouraged people to adhere to their appointment at a debt advice service by sending them reminders via SMS. In Chapter 4 we investigated whether adjusting the websites of a Dutch moneylender in a way that makes the total costs of a loan more salient, affects customers’ loan decisions. In Chapter 5, we investigated whether interventions that provided students with personalized information about the future costs of their loan would encourage students to recalibrate their monthly loan amount.The studies that are presented in this dissertation, show the value of using behavioural insights in increasing sound financial decision-making. But if we really want to change behaviour for the better, we should explore new ways in which insights from behavioural science could be embedded in policies, processes or systems, because with every choice architecture that is being established, behaviour is steered into a certain direction.
Supervisors: Wilco van Dijk en Lotte van Dillen
Date: 2020-12-10

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