2014 Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making


May 18–20, 2014

St Julien Hotel
900 Walnut Street
Boulder, CO 80302

Cutting edge research on consumer financial decision making by scholars across diverse fields: economics, law, psychology, sociology, anthropology, marketing, finance, and consumer sciences. Lively discussion of this research by scholars, regulators, consumer advocates, and financial services professionals.

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Hotel Reservations

2014 Sample Schedule


Please save the dates for the Boulder Summer Conference on Consumer Financial Decision Making. The conference will be held at the St Julien Hotel at a great time of year to visit Boulder, Colorado.

The conference will provide an opportunity for exchange of ideas among researchers in different fields working on problems of consumer financial decision-making.

Consumer welfare is strongly affected by household financial decisions large and small: choosing mortgages; saving to fund college education or retirement; using credit cards to fund current consumption; choosing how to “decumulate” savings in retirement; deciding how to pay for health care and insurance; and investing in the stock market. In all of these domains, consumers are often poorly informed and susceptible to making serious errors that have large personal and societal consequences.

Basic research in judgment and decision making, psychology, consumer research, behavioral finance, and behavioral economics can inform our understanding of how consumers actually make such decisions and how consumers can be helped to make better decisions by innovations in public policy, business, and consumer education.

The conference is co-sponsored by the Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making at the University of Colorado and by the Leeds School of Business.

Conference Format

We begin with a keynote address and panel discussion Sunday late afternoon, followed by a reception and poster session. Monday and Tuesday we will have 10 total plenary sessions of 75 minutes each, each with two related papers, a discussant, and plenty of time for audience questions and comments.

Submit Paper Abstract

Abstract Submission Deadline

Deadline for extended abstract submissions: December 15, 2013.

The conference co-chairs will select papers for presentation at the conference based on extended abstracts. Selected papers must not be published prior to the conference, but those researchers presenting their work at the conference must commit to have a paper that is complete and available for review by discussants one month prior to the conference, i.e., by April 18th, 2014.

Selections will be based on quality, relevance to consumers' financial decision-making, and contribution to breadth of topics and disciplinary approaches. We consider not just the individual merits of the papers, but how they pair with another submission from a scholar in a different field. The organizers will invite authors of the best papers not selected for presentation at a plenary session to present their work at the Sunday evening poster session.

Abstracts should be 1 page, single spaced, with paper title and authors' names and affiliations.

Submit an abstract

Submission Deadlines for Final Papers

Deadline for completed papers: April 18, 2014.

Authors are committing that complete papers to be presented at the conference will be provided to the conference co-chairs and discussants one month in advance of the conference.

2013 Conference


Conference Program


Eric Johnson
Columbia University

This research considers consumer financial decisions as they relate to paying for health care, examining why “taboo” tradeoffs make decisions so difficult, and what role choice architecture can plan in helping consumers choose consistently with their preferences when they lack well-formed preferences.

Anna Paulson
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago

Immigrants who have witnessed banking crises in their home countries are less likely to use United States’ banks. The author’s research finds that the effect lasts about a generation before faith may be restored in the banking system. Deposit Insurance can help eliminate direct experience to these crises.

Crises and Confidence: Systemic Banking Crises and Depositor Behavior

Brian Melzer
Northwestern University

Unemployment insurance improves ability to repay debt and avoid loan default, particularly among households with little emergency savings. It also boosts credit supply, particularly for low income households, and provides social benefit by decreasing the rate of mortgage default.

Unemployment Insurance and Consumer Credit

Ayelet Gneezy
University of California, San Diego

Poverty induces feelings of helplessness. The authors show that feeling helpless makes people impatient, preferring smaller sooner rewards to larger later ones, and it induces a preference for high risk, high reward gambles over lower risk, lower reward gambles.

Poor and Impatient: Helplessness Driven Poverty

Sara Goldrick-Rab
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Many of the most needy students decline to take out student loans, and the result is that higher education is not the great social leveler it is sometimes held out to be. Immigrants are particularly loan averse. The amount of loan aversion and its apparent antecedents vary depending on whether loan aversion is measured by administrative data or surveys.

Forms, Meanings, and Consequences of Loan Aversion: Evidence from a Mixed-Method Study of Undergraduates from Low-Income Families

Elizabeth Laderman
Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

In high appreciation counties, renters reduced nonmortgage debt more, while homeowners reduced their nonmortgage debt less. The paper suggests that the reduced level of aggregate borrowing was a result of decreases in the provision of credit rather than changes in consumer preferences.

Are Declines in Consumer Debt Due to Credit Supply or Credit Demand?

Frank Stafford
University of Michigan

This research explores the factors which lead families to lose or gain defined contribution coverage by allocating money to their private pensions or by withdrawing money from private pensions before the age 65.

At the Corner of Main and Wall Street: Family Pension Responses to Liquidity Change and Perceived Returns

Rachel Dwyer
Ohio State University

The author’s research considers the options of having a college degree with debt, or no degree without debt. Taking out student loans without graduating from a four year college predicts delayed marriage.

Student Loan Indebtedness and the Transition to Adulthood

Avni Shah
Duke University

Women tend to be more risk averse than men. Changes in the economic status and therefore power of members of a couple predicts tilting the portfolio in the direction of the more powerful member’s risk preferences.

Marital dynamics and portfolio choice: The link between intra-household frictions and gender differences in risk aversion in portfolio compositions

Jane Dokko
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

Credit score match quality in couples is highly predictive of household formation and dissolution. Couples with similar credit score profiles are more likely to form and be sustainable.

Household Formation, Credit, and Trustworthiness

Alice Henriques
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve

Husbands appear to time their claiming of social security in ways that maximizes their own economic benefits to the detriment of the lifetime income of their wives (who are likely to outlive them).

How Does Social Security Claiming Respond to Incentives?

Alison Borland
Aon Hewitt

African-American and Hispanic 401-k retirement savings significantly lag whites, even when adjusted for age, pay, and other factors. The former groups participate at lower rates, save a lower fraction of their salaries, and are more likely to raid their savings for loans and hardship withdrawals. Overall, Asian employees show strongest savings behaviors.

Illuminating the Blind Spots: A Closer Look at Savings and Investing Behaviors

John Rogers
Ariel Investments

Rogers described the creation of the Ariel Community Academy, an intensive effort to prepare inner city youth for a lifetime of financial preparedness.

Race, Ethnicity, and Financial Capability?

Richard Fry
Pew Charitable Trusts

In the 70s, more young men attended college than young women, but this pattern has completely reversed and women complete college at higher rates then men. Fry ties these changes in college attendance to social changes in the marriage premium afforded to college educated prospective spouses.

Investing in College: The Puzzling Difference between Men and Women

Chris Hsee
University of Chicago

Though Western cultures celebrate competition as a route to resource allocation, in laboratory experiments, people are happier when their outcomes are assigned than when they compete for rewards – even if others are assigned better outcomes. These results hold only when it is difficult for those assigned fewer resources to compare their outcomes and when “inferior” outcomes are not too bad.

Fight or Fight: On the Hedonic Cost of Free Competition

J. Michael Collins
University of Wisconsin

The research examines first-time homebuyers’ financial behavior in a randomized experiment on effects of financial coaching. It finds that a free ‘telephone financial coaching’ significantly reduced the number of mortgage defaults among buyers with blemished credit histories. This suggests that low-cost measures may increase the rate of timely payment.

A Field Experiment of Post-Purchase Monitoring on the Financial Outcomes of First-Time Homebuyers

Stephan Meier
Columbia University

80% of underwater borrowers qualifying for HARP mortgage refinancing programs fail to apply. The authors test a number of psychological explanations, concluding that lack of trust in financial institutions and present bias play significant roles.

Psychological Barriers to Refinance Mortgages

Cary Frydman
USC Marshall School of Business

Prior work has shown that investors are more likely to repurchases stocks that have gone down in price, compared to stocks that have gone up, and this has been explained by regret aversion. The current paper provides neuropsychological evidence of brain activity associated with regret consistent with prior speculation.

Psychological Barriers to Refinance Mortgages

Alessandro Previtero
University of Western Ontario

Behavioral finance scholars have questioned why female investors exhibit more risk aversion than men. The present research compares adult investing behavior of same-sex versus opposite sex twins. Prenatal testosterone levels explains the higher tendency of men to take more financial risks.

Prenatal Exposure to Testosterone Increases Financial Risk Taking and Reduces the Gender Gap

Rick Harbaugh
Indiana University

In many decisions about financial products, consumers rely on expert advisors who sometimes make money based on the client accepting the advice (“biased”) and sometimes are paid independent of the client accepting the advice (unbiased). This research provides a game theoretic model of how lack of transparency affects incentives of biased and unbiased experts to lie, and for clients to accept their advice.

Biased Recommendations

Byoung-Hyoun Hwang
Purdue University

This research looks at social media articles and commentaries. It finds that the views published on social media investing web forums substantially predict stock returns and earnings surprises.

Customers as Advisors: The Role of Social Media in Financial Markets

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan
University of Pennsylvania

Investors grossly underestimate the effect of mutual fund fees on the long run performance of their investments. This paper tests the effects of fee disclosures in an experimental investment game, concluding that the availability of fee information creates higher-value investment choices.

An Experiment on Mutual Fund Fees in Retirement Investing

Susan Thorp
University of Technology Sydney

This research explores how people chose retirement investments when provided with ‘user friendly’ information from regulators. The results show that this information is not always used in the way the regulators predicted. This raises the question about the way ‘user friendly’ information is validated.

As Easy as Pie: Return, Risk and Concentration Information in Retirement Portfolio Choice

Scott Rick
University of Michigan

This paper shows that political ideologies affected how hard people worked for a constant reward that was sometimes framed as net of significant taxes benefiting others. Those not in favor of redistribution and government intervention worked less hard for the same net pay when taxed. Egalitarian-Communitarians, people who favor redistribution and intervention, are found to be more persistent, more accurate, and earn more with taxes.

It’s Not About the Money: The Impact of Taxes on Productivity

Christopher Robertson
University of Arizona

A significant contributor to the escalating cost of health care is very high cost treatments of unproven clinical benefits. This research shows preliminary support for “split benefit” approaches where a small part of the cost of the covered procedure is directed to the patient, who can choose to keep that benefit by foregoing the treatment.

A Randomized Trial of the Split Benefit Health Insurance Mechanism


Julie Agnew and Hazel Bateman
College of William and Mary and the University of New South Wales

Judging the Quality of Online Financial Advice: The good, the Bad, and the Adviser

Ali Beshart
University of South Florida

Managing the Cost of Multiple Debt Accounts: A Behavioral Perspective

Alycia Chin
Carnegie Mellon University

Perceptions of Bankruptcy and Bankruptcy Filers: An Exploratory Analysis

David Comerford
University of Stirling

Direct Versus Implied Judgments of Economic Trends

Cynthia Cryder
Washington University St. Louis

Spending Credit Like a Windfall Gain

Daniel Egan
Barclays Wealth

Investor Happiness

Carsten Erner
University of California-Los Angeles

Psychographic Field Study of Prime and Subprime Consumers

Michal Grinstein-Weiss
Washington University

Refund to Savings: Exploring the Intersection of Behavioral Economics and Asset Building at Tax Time and Beyond

In Gu Khang
Northwestern University

On the Role of Subjective Valuation in Housing Investment

Rawley Heimer
Brandeis University

Leverage Constraints, Profitability, and Risk-Shifting: Evidence from the Introduction of Dodd-Frank

Hal Hershfield
New York University

Dual Payoff Scenario Warnings on Credit Card Statements Elicit Suboptimal Payoff Decisions

Sean Hundofte
New York University

Indirect Reminders: How Irrelevant Information Can Affect Mortgage Repayment Behavior

Jeremy Ko

The Effects of Regulating Penalty Fees for Consumer Financial Products

Coco Krumme
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Working for a Bad Company is Bad for Your (Financial) Health: Survival Analysis of Default Rates in an Employee-Employer Network

Vyacheslav Mikhed
University of Alberta

Do Income Shocks Cause Personal Bankruptcy? Evidence from Exogenous Fiscal Payments

Carrie Pan
Santa Clara University

Social Influence, Homeownership, and the Subprime Mortgage Crisis

Nicholas Reinholtz
Columbia University

Can Gift Cards Change What Consumers Purchase: A Cognitive Perspective

Uta Schier
London School of Economics and Political Science

Deploying Decoys in Smart Choice Architecture: How an Inefficient Market Helps Consumers Make Higher-Quality Choice

Dan Schley
Ohio State University

Determinants of Diminishing Marginal Utility

Ulrich Seubert
University of Mannheim

3, 4, or 5 percent- Do borrowers know the difference?

Avni Shah
Duke University

No Pain, All Gain: Examining the Influence of Pain of Payment on Loss Aversion and Propensity for Gambling

Michael Simkovic
Seton Hall University School

Risk Based Student Loans

An Tran
University of Colorado Boulder

Expense Neglect in Forecasting Personal “Spare” Money

Christoph Ungemach
University of Colorado Boulder

Translated Attributes as a Choice Architecture Tool

Dee Warmath
University of Wisconsin

Why Wait to Build When You Can Borrow? Jump Start Development of the Concept of Financial Well-Being

Jake Wetzel
University of British Columbia

Do Reverse Mortgage Borrowers Exercise In-the-Money Put Options?

Tansel Yilmazer
Ohio State University

Portfolio Choice and Risk Attitudes: A Household Bargaining Approach

2012 Conference


Conference Program


Shlomo Benartzi
UCLA School of Management

Behavioral Finance 2.0: Stop Criticizing, Start Solving

Early behavioral finance work produced large benefits in social welfare by encouraging 401-K retirement savings. But opportunities exist for firms and regulators to work with academics and each other to solve important social problems, such as employees prematurely withdrawing greater amounts from their retirement than employers contribute each year.

Stephanie Moulton
The Ohio State University

Building Assets or Building Debt: Do First Time Homebuyers Know the Difference and Does It Matter?

First time homebuyers who underestimate their non-mortgage debt borrow more, controlling for borrower characteristics and, ironically, those who underestimate their non-mortgage debt are more likely to seek financial counseling.

Justin Sydnor
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Home Purchases and Consumer Finances

Upon entering their first mortgage, individuals making the transition into homeownership often exhibit dramatic increases in overall debt and delinquency.

Jonathan Fox
The Ohio State University

College Student Debt and the Decision to Default

In determining likelihood of default on student loans, process variables—such as financial guidance from parents, financial management practices, and perceived return on education—were more predictive than traditionally scrutinized academic success variables.

Tess Wilkinson-Ryan
University of Pennsylvannia

Transferring Trust: Reciprocity Norms and Assignment of Contract

Financial debt contracts are often resold to third parties in financial markets, but this research indicates that borrowers feel less obligation to repay a third party than the original lender.

J. Michael Collins
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Getting Parties to the Table: Mandatory Mediation Laws and the Renegotiation of Mortgage Contracts

Mandatory mediation requirements prove effective in persuading delinquent mortgage borrowers to talk to lenders, producing better outcomes for both borrowers and lenders.

Robert Lawless
University of Illinois

Attorney Perceptions of Influence on Bankruptcy Chapter Choice

In general, debtors can achieve better outcomes if they select Chapter 7 bankruptcy rather than Chapter 13. However, attorneys disproportionately recommend Chapter 13 to African American debtors and are unaware of the racial bias in their recommendations.

Lauren Jones
Cornell University

The Effects of CARD Act Disclosures on Consumer Use of Credit Cards

A study of the effect of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act on consumer credit behaviors indicated that the Act had only a small positive impact on consumers’ credit card payment decisions.

Linda Salisbury
Boston College

Minimum Payment Warnings and Consumer Debt Repayment Decisions

The CARD act required a warning to encourage lower debt by showing the amount of payment needed to pay off a debt in three years, but empirical evidence suggests that these warnings do not work as intended. Other information about effects of paying more would produce better choices.

Eric Johnson
Columbia University

Can Consumers Make Affordable Care Affordable? The Value of Choice Architecture

Consumers seem unable to make cost-effective health insurance choices in the insurance markets (termed exchanges) that will be established by the Affordable Care Act. However, with appropriate choice architecture, consumers choose cost-effective plans.

Christopher Olivola
University of Warwick

From Intuition to Insolvency: Decision Making Style in Adolescence Predicts Financial Well-Being in Adulthood

Adolescents who described their decisions as being intuitive had measurably worse financial outcomes fifteen years later than their peers who had favored deliberation.

Camelia Kuhnen
Northwestern University

Asymmetric Learning from Financial Information

Consumers learn less well from available financial information about losses (as opposed to gains). Additionally, learning performance is in part due to genetic factors affecting memory and cognitive control.

Daniel Fernandes
Erasmus University

Richard Netemeyer
University of Virginia

The Effect of Financial Literacy on Downstream Financial Behaviors

A meta-analysis of 160 prior studies reveals a vanishingly small relationship between financial education and subsequent financial behavior, suggesting the need for a reevaluation of the large sums spent on financial education around the world.

Nancy Wong
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Online Talk about Money

Analysis of online discussion about money shows that consumers use these forums for social support and for financial information that is quite different from what is provided in traditional financial education.

Jeffrey Brown
University of Illinois

Do Consumers Know How to Value Annuities? Complexity as a Barrier to Annuitization

Consumers—particularly less sophisticated ones—have difficulty making consistent, utility-maximizing decisions regarding annuity streams; inability to handle complexity, rather than a desire for lump sums, seems to be the cause.

Suzanne Shu
University of California Los Angeles

Consumer Valuation of Annuities: Beyond NPV

To determine why retirement annuities are under-pursued, this study examines multiple consumer annuity preferences, finding consumers are sensitive to emotional and non-normative factors unrelated to the net present value (NPV) of the annuity.

Derek Koehler
University of Waterloo

Systematic Biases in Investor Self-Prediction of Future Risk Tolerance

Investors think they would be equally risk tolerant for individual investments as for broader buckets of investments, but they are not; they are substantially less risk tolerant for individual investments than they expect themselves to be.

Daniel Goldstein
London Business School

The Illusion of Wealth

Firms are offering retirees lump sums to give up their pensions, but this research indicates that consumers often perceive lump sums to have a greater value than the corresponding annuity stream, possibly influencing individuals to accept lump sums that lower their retirement income.

Robert Meyer
University of Pennsylvania

Ostriches, Owls, and Black Swans: Quasi-Rational Biases in Seeking Information about the Riskiness of Assets

In high-risk, high-return financial decisions, consumers undervalued information about the probability of a catastrophic loss (an ostrich effect) while consumers considering low-risk, low-return financial decisions overvalued such information (an owl effect).

Martin Weber
University of Mannheim

Investors’ Trading in Times of Crisis

During times of crisis, instead of increasing portfolio diversification, as is normal during less turbulent times, investors actually decrease the diversification of their portfolios by moving away from actively managed funds into more familiar investments.

Richard Thaler
University of Chicago

Smart Disclosure: The Regulatory Future


Current disclosures provide the same information content and format to all consumers, but the regulatory future is in personalized disclosures that utilize the individual information of the consumer.


Arvid Hoffmann
Maastricht University

What Makes Investors Optimistic, What Makes Them Afraid?

Avni Shah
Duke University

How the Pain of Payment Affects Buying Behavior in the Face of Variety

Barry Scholnick
University of Alberta

Sigma, Public Disclosure and Bankruptcy

Benedict Dellaert
Erasmus University

Meeting Consumer Risk Preferences by Debiased Investment Advice

Carsten Erner
University of California Los Angeles

Cost Transparency vs. Benefit Transparency: How to Improve Decision-Making for Risky Long-Term Investments

Chi Liao
University of Toronto

The Cost of Sin for Retail Investors

Christian Ehm
University of Mannheim

When Risk and Return are Not Enough: The Role of Loss Aversion in Private Investors' Choice of Mutual Fund Fee Structures

Dee Warmath
University of Wisconsin

Does Financial Literacy Improve Financial Outcomes?

Helen Colby
Rutgers University

Previous Balance Display and Credit Card Repayment

Indranil Goswami
University of Chicago

In Search Of Optimally Effective Defaults

Inga Jonaityte
Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Seductive Graphs, Trustworthy Faces, and Financial Decision Making

Ji Hoon Jhang
University of Colorado Boulder

“Giving Up” in Complex Annuity Decision Making

Jodi Letkiewicz
The Ohio State University

Self Control, Financial Literacy, and the Financial Behaviors of Young Adults

Jonas Nilsson
Umeå University

Examining the Financial Attitudes of Socially Responsible Investors: Comparing Investment Confidence and Attitude Toward Risk of Socially Responsible and Conventional Investors

Julia Minson
University of Pennsylvania

A Homeowner’s Dilemma-Anchoring in Residential Real Estate Transactions

Karen Holden
University of Wisconsin

Increasing Retirement Savings by Working Women

Keri Kettle
University of Miami

Motivating Consumers to Get Out of Debt Faster

Michaela Pagel
University of California Berkeley

Expectations-based Reference-Dependent Life-Cycle Consumption

Min Jung Kim
Texas A&M University

When the Budgeting Process Increases Consumer Saving

Min Jung Kim
Texas A&M University

All Things Considered: When the Budgeting Process Increases Consumer Saving

Philipp Schreiber
University of Mannheim

Time Inconsistent Preferences and the Insurance of Longevity Risk

Rebecca White
University of Chicago

Spending vs. Redemption: How Cash Gifts Differ From Gift Cards

Sheila Goins
The University of Iowa

The Role of Information in Consumer Debt Choices

Stephen Atlas
Columbia Business School

Periodic Pricing Revisited: Beyond Pennies-a-Day

Susan Thorp
University of Technology Sydney

Engagement, Capability and Rational Retirement Benefit Choice

Sven Nolte
University of Münster

An Experimental Analysis of Annuity Aversion—The Role of Framing and Uncertainty

Ulrich Seubert
University of Mannheim

Maturity Choice of Private Mortgage Borrowers

Yann Cornil

Diversification Paradox: Risk Attitudes and Financial Diversification among Lay Investors

2011 Conference


2011 Conference Program


Jonathan Zinman
Dartmouth College
“Borrow Less Tomorrow”

The authors report randomized experiments showing the effectiveness of a new product focusing on reducing expensive debt for households, based on principles from behavioral economics.

Jack Soll
“Consumers’ Understanding of Credit Card Debt: Shortcomings and Solutions”

The authors show how and why innumerate consumers fail to realize how long it will take to pay down a given debt, how much the balance will be at the end of the year if they pay a certain amount per month, or how much they have to pay per month in order to clear a debt in 3 years.

Sumit Agarwal
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
“Cognitive Ability and Financial Decision Making”

Mathematical abilities measured early in life predict mistakes in use of credit later in life that result in exceptional interest charges for use of home equity loans or lines of credit.

Ye Li
“Are Financial and Debt Literacy Separable from Each Other and from Cognitive Ability?”

As we age, “fluid intelligence” declines but “crystallized intelligence” increases to compensate, and the authors relate these changes to changes in financial and debt literacy across the lifespan.

Abigail Sussman
“Perceived Wealth: On the Asymmetric Role of Assets and Debt”

People with positive net worth feel wealthier when they have low debt and low assets rather than high debt and high assets. People with negative net worth are the opposite: they feel wealthier when they have high assets but high debt.

Lisa Penaloza
EDHEC Business School
“Living Capitalism: The Normalization of Credit Debt in the U.S. Middle Class”

The authors investigate cultural changes in how consumers regard debt and debtors, representing the idea that heavy use of credit and debt is the “American Way.”

Souphala Chomsisengphet
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
“Market-Based Loss Mitigation Practices for Troubles Mortgages Following the Financial Crisis”

The authors investigate which loss mitigation practices by lenders are most effective in inducing borrower repayment during the mortgage meltdown.

Michael J. Collins
University of Wisconsin-Madison
“The Effects of Foreclosure Counseling for Troubled Borrowers”

The authors explore which distressed borrowers are most likely to seek counseling, and how much they benefit.

Michael Staten
University of Arizona
“Debt Management Plan Participation and Credit Counseling Outcomes”

Those who start a not-for-profit Debt Management Plan improve credit scores and reduce incidence of bankruptcy over a three-year period compared to observationally equivalent debtors.

Stephanie Wilshusen
Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
“Meeting the Demand for Debt Relief”

The authors explain the landscape of not-for-profit and for-profit debt relief organizations, analyzing misaligned incentives of for-profit firms who take payments before delivering benefits, and the problems of consumers in identifying which organizations will actually deliver benefits.

Joanne K. Yoong
“Asking for Help: Survey and Experimental Evidence on Financial Advice and Behavior Change”

A national survey shows little evidence that receiving financial advice does not, on average, improve the performance of one’s defined contribution retirement plan. Later experiments show advice helps only when one asks for it, not when it is thrust upon one.

Thomas Langer
Universität Munster
“What Are Investors Willing to Pay to Customize their Investment Product?”

Standard theory says that investors’ stock portfolios should be tailored to their risk preferences, and the authors show that people are willing to pay substantial fees, but enthusiasm dwindles when they see the effect of increased fees on their net returns.

John W. Payne
“Live to or Die by: Framing Effects on Life Expectations and Life Annuity Choice”

Life annuities are attractive as a way to avoid outliving one’s wealth if one thinks one will live longer than average. People are biased to think they will live much longer if asked to estimate the chance they will live to age 85 than if asked the chance they will die by age 85.

Eric J. Johnson
“Why Americans Claim Benefits Early and How to Encourage Them to Delay”

Delaying the age at which one starts claiming Social Security benefits is smart for many consumers. The researchers show how the framing of how Social Security Administration frames the decision has the unintentional effect of making earliest possible claiming seem to be the reference point.

Meir Statman
Santa Clara University & Tilburg University
“Financial Wellbeing and Willingness to Take Risk”

People whose income falls short of their aspirations take more financial risks than those who feel financially well off.

Michael Sherraden
Washington University
“Can Child Development Accounts Increase College Savings? Evidence from SEED for Oklahoma Kids Experiment”

The authors report findings from a remarkable randomized experiment by the state of Oklahoma where some children were given access to a matched college savings program at birth.

Susan Thorp
University of Technology, Sydney
“Economic Rationality, Risk Presentation, and Retirement Portfolio Choice”

The authors show how individuals violate expected utility theory in allocating savings in a defined contribution retirement plan, particularly those low in numeracy.

Christine Kaufmann
Universität Mannheim
“Does Risk-Taking Depend on the Risk-Return-Profile Given?”

Investors choose the same fraction of risky versus riskless assets when the risky asset has high return for taking risk as when it has low return for taking risk.

Christoph Merkle
Universität Mannheim
“Do Investors Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is? Stock Market Expectations and Trading Behavior”

The authors test whether investors expectations about their returns and risks of securities predicts their trading behavior.

Michal Strahilevitz
Golden Gate University
“Once Burned, Twice Shy and You’ve been Good to Me So Far: How Naïve Learning, Counterfactuals, and Regret Affect the Repurchase of Stocks Previously Owned”

Theory says that historical stock performance doesn’t predict the future, but regret causes investors to shy away from buying stocks they have owned in the past if they lost money or the stock appreciated after they sold it.

2010 Conference




Pre-Conference Fun

Saturday Afternoon, May 17th

Visit to Avery Brewery

Boulder is famous for its microbreweries, and has been called the capital (or Napa Valley) of craft beers, so it would make no sense whatsoever to be in Boulder and to not make an event of this!

So we are going to visit Avery Brewing Co. Avery is one of Boulder’s most popular breweries, and was recently named one of the Top 15 Craft Breweries in the USA by USA Today.


The Avery Tap Room features 20 different beers on tap, and we will be taking a tour of the brewery facilities (as such, please wear closed toe shoes).

The breweries can accommodate only a limited number of visitors at one time so register as soon as possible using the link at the top of the page. So whattadayasay, come a day early and join the fun! Contact conference manager Griffin Bohm at griffin.bohm@colorado.edu with any questions.

Sunday Morning, May 18th

Eldorado Canyon State Park Hike

At 8:30 AM on Sunday, May 18th, a number of local conference attendees will pick up hikers outside the St. Julien and take us to Eldorado Canyon State Park. Eldorado Canyon is a hidden treasure right in Boulder’s back yard. We are at about 6000 feet and it may be cool inside the canyon so bring a sweater or sweatshirt. We will all start out on the easy “South Boulder Creek West Trail” and then link back on the “Lower Big Bluestem Trail.” Those who wish may branch off to take the more moderate “Towhee Trail.”

South Boulder Creek West & Lower Big Bluestem

We start on the easy South Boulder Creek West trail, which meanders through a lovely meadow at the foot of the mountains. The trail is 1.9 miles before linking up with the Lower Big Bluestem trail, which rolls through the very base of the foothills, and offers exceptional views of both the Flatirons and the city of Boulder.

Towhee Trail

This moderately difficult trail is a 1.6-mile loop (a total of 5.6 miles including the South Boulder Creek West trail access). The hike winds past several historic sites including a cattle herder’s cabin used in the 1920s and 30s and remnants of old railroad camps. Be sure to bring sunscreen and sunglasses for this trail as it is mostly exposed to the sun. The full trail (the loop plus the South Boulder Creek West trail access) will probably take just over two hours to complete including stops to take pictures of the spectacular scenery and look for wildlife. When we finish, we'll return to Boulder in time for a late lunch.

Families and spouses are welcome. Register using the link at the top of the page. If you have any questions, please contact conference manager Griffin Bohm at griffin.bohm@colorado.edu. There is no charge for this hike, other than paying the entry fee into the park ($8 per car in cash).


We will be together for breakfasts, lunches, and receptions and we will be on our own for dinners.

See this Wall Street Journal article reviewing several outstanding Boulder restaurants. Boulder was recently named 'Foodiest Town in America' by Bon Appetit.

Salt, The Kitchen, and the Black Cat are all within an easy walk of the St Julien. Frasca is a slightly longer walk, about 8 blocks.

The Kitchen

Please see this map for various locations we will visit together and some to visit on your own right by the St Julien.

Recommended Restaurants:



Here is a great website for Boulder attractions.

Outside of Boulder

If you have a day or two to spend in the area, here are some popular tourist spots:

Red Rocks
  • Peak to Peak Highway from Blackhawk (about 35 minutes from Boulder) to Estes Park. It is easy to spend a day shopping in Estes Park.
  • Red Rocks: Home of the famous outdoor amphitheater.

Summit County

Summit County is the mountain playground for people from Denver and you can do any possible outdoor activity there in spectacular settings.... hike, bike, sail, horseback ride, golf, etc.

This is due east from Denver on I-70. It's about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Boulder. Spend the day either in the charming towns (Frisco old west, Breckenridge more victorian old west).


Image by Brian Dearth

If you can spend time in this area, there are fabulous hikes -- especially for those who like wildflowers.

One of our favorites is Shrine Mountain Pass. Go from Summit County west on I-70 to Vail Pass, get off and drive on dirt road to Shrine Mountain. Hike (about 2 hours, not too strenuous) to incredible overlook of shrine mountain, spectacular wildflowers that time of year. It is critical to get an early start in the morning. In that part of the state, mornings are always crystal clear blue sky days and afternoons are prone to early thundershowers.


If you are interested in more civilized stuff rather than all outdoorsy, in Denver itself, the Denver Art Museum and the Denver Museum of Nature and Science are both quite good.


Post-Conference Fun (On Your Own)

If you'd like to do something on your own either before or after the conference, here are some ideas:

White Water Rafting

If you’ve never been white water rafting, it’s a real kick!

Pete McGraw has the inside scoop on where to go, and what rafting company to use. He recommends Echo Canyon/Four Corners Rafting. Echo Canyon is the biggest raft outfitter in Colorado. They raft different parts and levels of the Arkansas River, so they have a variety of options for different group needs. Levels 2/3 like Browns Canyon and Big Horn Sheep are more family friendly, but higher Level 4 like Royal Gorge and Numbers are also available. (Higher numbers are rougher waters!)


Several of us have done Browns Canyon and it is beautiful. It’s probably about a 2.5 hour drive from Boulder, but it is a scenic drive.

If you are interested, here is the contact info:
Echo Canyon River Expeditions/ Four Corners Rafting
45000 US Highway 50 West
Canon City, CO 81212
www.raftecho.com or

Bike Trails

Boulder is one of the most bike-friendly communities there is. There is road and off-road biking for all skill levels. For more information on bike rentals and alternate routes: www.getboulder.com/sports/sports_bicycle.html


You say you want to go hiking? We have you covered there too as Boulder has fantastic trails! Check out this website.


Rocky Mountain National Park

Another beautiful drive is from Boulder, through Estes Park, to Rocky Mountain National Park. And when you get there, boy is it beautiful... with some fantastic hikes.

Long's Peak

Summit County

If you really want the Rocky Mountain experience, drive west on 1-70 to the other side of the Eisenhower Tunnel (about a 90 minute drive) and take in the beautiful mountain towns. Summit County is the mountain playground for people from Denver and you can do any possible outdoor activity there in spectacular settings.... hike, bike, sail, horseback ride, golf, etc.

Rocky Mountains

This is due east from Denver on I-70. It's about 1 hour and 40 minutes from Boulder. Spend the day either in the charming towns (Frisco old west, Breckenridge more victorian old west). If you can spend time in this area, there are fabulous hikes -- especially for those who like wildflowers.

One of our favorites is Shrine Mountain Pass. Go from Summit County west on I-70 to Vail Pass, get off and drive on dirt road to Shrine Mountain. Hike (about 2 hours, not too strenuous) to incredible overlook of shrine mountain, spectacular wildflowers that time of year. It is critical to get an early start in the morning. In that part of the state, mornings are always crystal clear blue sky days and afternoons are prone to early thundershowers.


Central City

Yep, we have that too in Blackhawk and historic Central City, about an hour away.

City Life

If you prefer what a city has to offer, of course Denver is only 30 miles away.



If you want to just hang in Boulder, there are a bunch of things to do here too, both for families during the conference, and for pre and post conference fun!
Visitor Information

Getting to Boulder

Three means of getting to the conference hotel (the St Julien) in Boulder are by renting a car and driving, taking the Boulder SuperShuttle, or taking the public bus service (RTD). Below is information on each.

Rental Car

If you will be renting a car at DIA and driving to the St. Julien Hotel in Boulder, there is a toll route. Use this link for a map that has links for three routes you can take. Use either route 1 (E-470 N, about 47 minutes, $9 toll) or route 2 (US 36-W, about 52 minutes, no toll). In either case, you will enter Boulder by coming south on US-36, whichturns into 28th Street once inside Boulder. It is hard to get lost in Boulder because the mountains are always to the west. 28th street is a major North-South street to the east of the St. Julien. Take 28th Street to Canyon Blvd., take a left (west, toward the mountains) on Canyon Blvd. Continue west on Canyon Blvd. to 9th Street, take a right on 9th Street, then take your first right on Walnut Street. The hotel entrance will be on your right.

Boulder Shuttle

Another way to get to the St. Julien Hotel is by the Boulder Supershuttle. This service will pick you up at DIA and take you to the St Julien Hotel, and take you from the hotel back to the Airport.If you have any questions regarding fares, destinations, service areas, confirmations or any other reservation specific questions, email reservations@supershuttle.net or call 800.BLUE.VAN (800.258.3826).

Town Car

Contact the St. Julien Concierge Desk to set up a town car to pick up hotel guests. The cost is $130 including gratuity each way, with the advantage being that the trip takes 45 minutes instead of the hour and a half (estimated time of Supershuttle).


The cost of a taxi is about $100.00 not including gratuity.


A third way to get between DIA and Boulder is by bus (RTD). Here is the RTD schedule between DIA and Boulder. (Note the pickup locations at DIA.) The "West Bound" link on this website shows the final destination in Boulder at the RTD bus terminal at the intersection of 14th Street and Walnut. This is very close to the St. Julien. If you walk five blocks west on Walnut Street, you are at the St. Julien.

Conference Locations

Please see the map at this link to see where the St. Julien is relative to places we will eat and drink during the conference. You can click on the little icons to see when we will be at each location.

Instructions for Poster Presenters


On Sunday evening of the Boulder Summer Conference, we have a cocktail party reception focused on posters by authors of highly rated papers submitted to the conference. It is a great opportunity for deep and informal dialog with others working in the author’s particular area.

A poster presentation should be self-explanatory, allowing different viewers to proceed on their own while the author is free to supplement and discuss particular points raised in inquiry. The poster session offers a more intimate forum for information exchange than does the traditional spoken presentation, but discussion becomes difficult if the author is obliged to spend most of the time merely explaining the poster to a succession of visitors.


Each of you will have a space that is 46 inches wide by 48 inches high (116.8 cm. wide x 121.9 cm high). (The brackets on either side of each poster take a little real estate, giving you a rectangle rather than a square.)


Each poster will be assigned a number in the program. The boards will be grouped serially in the room to help participants locate specific presentations.

Before the Meeting


Prepare a banner for the top of your poster indicating the title, authors, and affiliations. Lettering in the label should be at least 1 in. (2.5 cm) high.


Figures should be designed to be viewed from a distance, and should use clear, visible graphics. Although each figure should illustrate no more than one or two major points, figures need not be simple. The main points should be clear without extended viewing, but detail can be included for the knowledgeable viewer. Remember that the time spent at each poster figure is determined by the viewer, not by the presenter, as in the case of a slide presentation in a spoken session.

Each figure or table should have a heading of one or two lines in large type stating the “take-home” message. Detailed information should be provided in a legend below in smaller type. Because there is no text accompanying a poster, the figure legend should contain commentary that would normally appear in the body (Results and Discussion) of a manuscript. It should describe concisely not only the content of the figure but also the conclusions derived from it. Details of methodology should be kept brief and should be placed at the end of the legend.


Materials should be mounted on colored poster paper or board. It is helpful to group logically consistent sections of the presentation on the same background color. Muted colors provide an effective background. Use thin mounting board. Heavy board is difficult to keep positioned properly.

Arrange materials in columns rather than in rows. It is easier for viewers to scan a poster by moving systematically along it rather than by zigzagging back and forth in front of it. An introduction should be placed at the upper left and a conclusion at the lower right, both in large type. The sequence of illustrations should be indicated with numbers or letters at least 1 in. high, preferably in bold print. (Omit “Fig” or “Figure”; it is unnecessary and occupies too much space.)

You may find it convenient to have a separate section describing methods, but it is quite effective to include this information as part of the data presentation, as described above. Carefully chosen photographs of apparatus, or schematic diagrams of procedures, can convey a great deal of information about methods without much text. Most viewers will tend to skim or ignore long textual passages.

Including Your Poster in a Memory Stick of All Conference Presentations

All conference attendees receive a memory stick with the papers presented in the plenary sessions or powerpoint presentations. We want to include a pdf of each poster in those materials. Poster authors should upload the pdf of their poster 10 days before the conference through a qualtrics email link that will be sent to all poster authors.


  • John Lynch

    Donnie Lichtenstein