Invoking busyness to nudge tax preparation choices (poster presentation)


55% of low-income Americans pay for tax preparation, despite the existence of the cost-free Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. VITA sites can save time and serve more people by offering “scan-and-go” preparation, but uptake of this new service is low. In a field experiment, we sought to increase participation by invoking a social norm that busy taxpayers choose scan-and-go services, extending research on appeals to busyness in consumer choice. Taxpayers randomly assigned to receive a “decision aid” displaying this social norm (vs. a control sheet simply displaying both preparation options) were nearly two times more likely to choose scan-and-go preparation.

Society for Judgment and Decision-Making Annual Meeting
New Orleans, LA