Academic researchers who dislike free meal seminars have published a new bit of evidence illustrating the power of free meal seminars.
They found that about 2.7% of U.S. residents ages 50 and older reporting having made some kind of investment after attending a “free meal seminar” in the past five years.
The researchers’ came up with that figure by using a survey question that defines “investment” as “some sort of investment, including, but not limited to, a vacation timeshare or an annuity product.”
Marguerite DeLiema, a researcher at the Stanford Center on Longevity, and three colleague have published the meal seminar impact data in a new working paper. A working paper is a research paper that has not yet gone through a complete peer review process.
A copy of the paper is available here, behind a paywall, on the website of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
DeLiema and her colleagues included data on the effects of free meal seminars in a look at financial fraud among older Americans. To conduct their research, they developed an “experimental module,” or extra list of survey questions, for the team at the University of Michigan that conducts the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) survey.
The HRS program is a major U.S. academic survey program. The HRS team interviews about 20,000 people every two years.
The HRS team used the DeLiema question list in interviews with 1,268 survey participants in 2016.
The Experimental Module
The experimental module that DeLiema’s team developed includes 27 questions related to “financial mismanagement at older ages.”
Some of the questions are supposed to assess a survey participant’s basic mathematical literacy.