Skip to main content Accessibility help

Do knowledge gains from public information campaigns persist over time? Results from a survey experiment on the Norwegian pension reform*


Government authorities use resources on information campaigns in order to inform citizens about relevant policy changes. The motivation is usually that individuals sometimes are ill-informed about the public policies relevant for their choices. In a survey experiment where the treatment group was provided with public information material on the social security system, we assess the short- and medium-term knowledge effects. We show that the short run effects of the information on knowledge disappear completely within 4 months. The findings illustrate the limits of public information campaigns to improve knowledge about relevant policy reforms.

Hide All

The research reported in this paper was supported by a grant from the Research Council of Norway (project 210446).

Hide All
Boeri, T. and Tabellini, G. (2012) Does information increase political support for pension reform? Public Choice, 150(1–2): 327362. doi: 10.1007/s11127-010-9706-6.
Chan, S. and Stevens, A. H. (2008) What you don't know can't help you: pension knowledge and retirement decision-making. Review of Economics and Statistics, 90(2): 253266. doi: 10.1162/rest.90.2.253.
Chetty, R. and Saez, E. (2013) Teaching the tax code: earnings responses to an experiment with EITC recipients. American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, 5(1): 131. doi: 10.1257/app.5.1.1.
Chetty, R., Looney, A., and Kroft, K. (2009) Salience and taxation: theory and evidence. American Economic Review, 99(4): 11451177. doi: 10.1257/aer.99.4.1145.
Downs, A. (1957) An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper.
Finseraas, H. and Jakobsson, N. (2014a) Does information about the pension system affect knowledge and retirement plans? Evidence from a survey experiment. Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 13(3): 250271. doi: 10.1017/S1474747213000310.
Finseraas, H. and Jakobsson, N. (2014b) Does a simple information intervention change the perception of a reform? Applied Economics Letters, 21(18): 12661268. doi: 10.1080/13504851.2014.922660.
Henry, G. T. and Gordon, C. S. (2003) Driving less for better air: impacts of a public information campaign. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, 22(1): 4563. doi: 10.1002/pam.10095.
Hyman, H. H. and Sheatsley, P. B. (1947) Some reasons why information campaigns fail. Public Opinion Quarterly, 11(3): 412423. doi: 10.1093/poq/11.3.412.
Mastrobuoni, G. (2011) The role of information for retirement behavior: evidence based on the stepwise introduction of the Social Security Statement. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7–8): 913925. doi:
Rubin, D. C. and Wenzel, A. E. (1996) One hundred years of forgetting: a quantitative description of retention. Psychological Review, 103(4): 734760. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.103.4.734.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Pension Economics & Finance
  • ISSN: 1474-7472
  • EISSN: 1475-3022
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-pension-economics-and-finance
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed