Injunctive Social Norms Primacy Over Descriptive Social Norms in Retirement Savings Decisions
Baywood Publishing Co., Inc.
Faculty of Business and Law
School of Accounting, Finance and Economics
Consistent with the global trend to shift responsibility for retirement income provision from the public purse to individuals has been encouragement to save more and to manage investment strategy. Analyzing data from 2,300 respondents to a randomly distributed questionnaire, this article focuses on the motivational importance of social norms. The study finds injunctive social norms (what is commonly approved or disapproved of) exert greater influence than descriptive social norms (what is commonly done) in predicting retirement savings intentions. Modeling employs the theory of planned behavior, and also finds injunctive social norm has predictive primacy over attitude and perceived behavioral control. Discussion advocates a balanced approach to intervention design, and identifies opportunities for the further study of normative message framing.