The current study examined the human nature underlying saving behavior and whether interventions drawn from behavioral sciences are effective in increasing the amount parents save for their children’s future. This paper begins by reviewing relevant literature from economics and psychology in order to draw on key theories pertaining to the determinants of household saving behavior, inter-temporal decision-making, and attitude-behavior inconsistency. By integrating psychological foundations to economic theory, the theoretical framework presented modifies assumptions of standard micro economic consumer theory to demonstrate the intuition underlying behavioral interventions. Participants (N = 294) were recruited using Amazon MTurk and were paid a nominal fee to complete an online survey. The objective of the study was to examine whether interventions based on psychological connectedness to the future and mental accounting would have a positive influence on household allocation of resources for one’s children’s future. A 3 (future-continuity condition) x 2 (money allocation task) experimental study was conducted to the hypothesis. While there was no significant interaction between treatment conditions, analysis of the data suggests that mental accounting is a highly effective behavioral intervention. Nonetheless, increased psychological connectedness to one’s future children did not have a significant impact on household resource allocation decisions for their children’s future.


Garcia, Amber

Second Advisor

Mellizo, Phil


Economics; Psychology


Behavioral Economics | Economics | Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Psychology


inter-temporal decision-making, behavioral nudges, mental accounting, saving behavior

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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