Finanzforum - Panel Rounds 2,3 and 4 and Corresponding Projects

Project Start:01/2019
Researchers:Konstantin Bräuer, Andreas Hackethal, Michael Kirchler, Christine Laudenbach, Steffen Meyer, Thomas Pauls, Annika Weber, Utz Weitzel
Category: Household Finance
Funded by:LOEWE

Datasets in the field of Household Finance are budding internationally and some permit new identification strategies to pin down causal relationships. One promising new avenue ist combining administrative data on household holdings and transactions with surveys on the same households. In an ideal setting such surveys are conducted repeatedly and can also be used to run Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) with panel clients. Our persistent efforts over the past five years have finally paid off and we launched a research platform (named "Finanzforum") together with a large European retail bank in Nov 2017. This platform allows to combine responses of bank clients to quarterly questionnaires with administrative data of the bank and also allows researchers to conduct RCTs with bank clients as the platform can be combined with oTree experiments, video streams and special product offers by the bank. We started to recruit clients to participate in the panel in July 2018 and the first two survey rounds took place in August and October 2018. The panel currently comprises of 2,100 representative bank clients. The initial survey was composed of general questions regarding preferences, beliefs, trust, financial literacy and use of financial products. Some questions will be reoccurring in subsequent surveys. Importantly, survey data are combined with broad and deep historical (up to ten years) and concurrent administrative data the bank has on all sample clients. Of course, researchers obtain only pseudonymized data which are hosted on dedicated servers in a bank-certified data center. Rental cost for such servers is over 2,500 Euros per month. A second major cost component is incentives for participants. We use amazon vouchers worth 5 Euros per participant and survey round - adding up to some 10.000 Euro per survey round. In accordance with the bank, the platform shall be in place for several years. We intend to run 3-4 rounds of surveys and RCTs on the platform each year and the platform shall be accessible for researchers outside the core project team in the future. The second sruvey round is devoted to savings behavior. The next round (end 2018) will focus on stock market participation (see our SAFE project proposal 2018 - including video treatments and portfolio simulations). For 2019 we are planning at least three rounds. The first will investigate the demand for professional advice and will ask participants on their reasons to seek advice and on their past interactions with advisors at various financial institutions. The second wave will be conducted in co-operation with experimental researchers from Innsbruck and Utrecht. We will re-use oTree experiments they had conducted with financial professionals on personal traits (cognitive skills, risk preferences) relevant for financial behavior. The third wave will focus on pension planning and pension savings/dissavings. In addition to quarterly surveys, Finanzforum will allow us toconduct ad-hoc questionnaires subsequent to exogeneous shocks like market downturns or inflation hikes. In all instances, and due to the design of Finanzforum - we will observe financial transactions and account balances of surveyed/treated clients and several control groups before and after our interventions.