Professor Benartzi’s most significant research contribution is the development, with Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago, of Save More Tomorrow (SMarT), a behavioral prescription designed to help employees increase their savings rates gradually over time. At one organization, SMarT increased employee savings rates from 3.5% to 13.6%. The SMarT program is now offered by more than half of the large retirement plans in the U.S. and a growing number of plans in Australia and the U.K. The program has also been incorporated in the Pension Protection Act of 2006, helping millions of Americans boost their retirement savings. A book on Save More Tomorrow and other practical behavioral finance solutions for improving retirement plans is scheduled for publication in April, 2012.
Professor Benartzi has supplemented his academic research with both policy work and practical experience. He has advised government agencies in the U.S. and abroad and has helped crafting numerous legislative efforts and pension reforms. He has also worked with many financial institutions and served on about half a dozen advisory boards, and currently serves as an academic advisor and chief behavioral economist for the Allianz Global Investors Center for Behavioral Finance. Professor Benartzi is also a co-founder of the Behavioral Finance Forum, an organization dedicated to helping consumers make better financial decisions by fostering collaborative efforts between academics, industry leaders and government officials.