Behavioral Finance

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The psychology of decision making

How information is presented, or “framed,” and other personal biases affect decision-making. The TIAA Institute focuses on such issues as how to motivate people to make decisions about when to claim Social Security, whether or not to annuitize, and how to save for retirement. 

Insights

Also produced by the TIAA Institute, Insights features reports addressing prominent issues in financial security, higher education, and philanthropy. While typically written for a primarily non-technical audience, Insights are prepared using the same level of academic rigor found in our other research publications, and can serve as valuable sources of information for a diverse group of readers.

June 2019

Finance theory assumes that investors maximize risk-adjusted returns when choosing portfolios. In reality, some people are also influenced by irrelevant factors, such as cosmetic changes to investment fund names.

June 2019

Opportunities to borrow increased considerably in the U.S. over the past few decades, and many Americans today are approaching retirement with high levels of debt.

June 2019

When making financial decisions under uncertain conditions, do people actually behave as widely used theories predict?

Research Reports

Original research produced by the TIAA Institute—both independently and in collaboration with noted scholars—examines topics of interest to the academic, nonprofit and public sectors. The reports combine statistical findings with thoughtful, data-driven observations and conclusions to provide in-depth analyses that are informative and appropriate for both technical and more academic audiences.

June 2019

Most retirement plans let participants allocate their contributions among a menu of investment options – and this decision can have a substantial effect on a retirement portfolio’s ultimate value.

July 2018

Understanding the prevalence, diversity and predictive power of behavioral factors—deviations from classical assumptions about consumer choice—is critical for theory, research and policy.

June 2018

Conventional economic models assume that investors confronted with risky choices maximize expected utility; yet in the real world, people are prone to making predictable errors.