EMF21-01: Does State-Sponsored Retirement Program Support Low-Income Workers Saving for Retirement? An Early Evidence from the OregonSaves Program



Half of the Americans are not saving enough for retirement. The problem is especially severe among small-business, less-educated, and low-income workers. Lack of access to workplace pensions has been high for several decades with largely variable access across the demographic and socioeconomic group, impeding the accumulation of retirement wealth and exacerbating inequalities. Research indicates current saving policies, especially tax incentives, are not effective tools in boosting saving for retirement. Several state governments have created state-sponsored retirement plans that require employers to provide the access to these plans by facilitating the enrolment for workers who were uncovered at their workplace. This study shows early empirical evidence of the impact of the Oregon program (OregonSaves) that was the first state-mandated auto IRA-plan implemented in the US. Early results using SIPP and CPS-ASEC data show that the program was associated with an 3-5% increase in owning an IRA among Oregon workers compared to other states after the program took place in 2017.


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