The Retirement Security Project (RSP) is a non-profit organization that promotes nonpartisan, common sense solutions to improve the retirement income prospects of American workers. RSP engaged in a large-scale, randomized field experiment with the nation's largest tax preparer. The experiment, first of its kind, sought to study the effects of matching rates on the willingness of low- and middle-income tax filers to contribute to IRAs.
The project was subject to uncompromising time constraints, including a rapid planning period with unyielding deadlines. The project team consisted of economists from leading academic institutions and employees of multiple corporations, dispersed across the country. The experiment required interventions to standard tax preparation processes. While the research objectives stipulated precise methods, it was essential that the interventions did not disrupt the regular course of business.
With less than one month of lead time and 32 days to conduct the experiment, success required exact planning and disciplined execution. Yvette organized the program by quickly absorbing the objectives, immediately becoming familiar with the resources and experts available, and efficiently working with the team to establish a clear and achievable tactical plan.
Yvette led the effort with minimal administrative burdens, in a manner that diminished the considerable organizational differences, yet maximized contributions towards the common goals. Although many of the 20+ immediate team members were unfamiliar with each other, camaraderie and trust evolved, and the collective effort capitalized on every individual's area of expertise.
Particularly important with the time limitations, the experiment was monitored rigorously so adjustments could be implemented instantly. Yvette ensured that the necessary individuals promptly addressed all hindrances, while remaining team members proceeded without distraction.
The project far exceeded expectations in both results and in ease of execution. The experiment took place in 60 offices, involving about 450 tax professionals and 15,000 clients. The interventions did not interfere with the daily office priorities, and the academic team obtained sufficient evidence to generate its significant conclusions.
The experiment created the impetus for The Match Act (S.3817) bill, introduced to Congress in 2006.