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Behavioral Economics and Energy Conservation – A Systematic Review of Non-price Interventions and Their Causal Effects

Mark Andor and Katja M. Fels

Ecological Economics, 2018, vol. 148, issue C, 178-210

Abstract: Research from economics and psychology suggests that behavioral interventions can be a powerful climate policy instrument. This paper provides a systematic review of the existing empirical evidence on non-price interventions targeting energy conservation behavior of private households. Specifically, we analyze four nudge-like interventions referred to as social comparison, commitment devices, goal setting, and labeling in 44 international studies comprising 105 treatments. This paper differs from previous systematic reviews by solely focusing on studies that permit the identification of causal effects. We find that all four interventions have the potential to significantly reduce energy consumption of private households, yet effect sizes vary immensely. We conclude by emphasizing the importance of impact evaluations before rolling out behavioral policy interventions at scale.

Keywords: Systematic review; Behavioral economics; Energy demand; Energy efficiency; Environmental certification; Social norms (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D12 L94 L95 Q41 Q48 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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