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Information strategies for energy conservation: A field experiment in India

Victor L. Chen, Magali Delmas, Stephen L. Locke and Amarjeet Singh

Energy Economics, 2017, vol. 68, issue C, 215-227

Abstract: Little is known about the effectiveness of information strategies on energy conservation in developing countries. In this study, we conduct a field experiment in an apartment complex in India to test how information about electricity usage impacts the electricity consumption of urban middle class households. Our results, based on fifteen-minute electricity readings over an academic year, show that non-monetary messages that framed electricity consumption in terms of environmental and health impacts were more effective than messages emphasizing the monetary savings of reducing electricity consumption. Households in the environmental/health group accessed the online energy-monitoring dashboard more frequently and reduced their electricity usage by 18.4% relative to the control group. Households in the monetary group did not significantly alter their usage. These results about revealed preferences are contrasted with stated preferences disclosed in a survey of urban Indians who describe money, not health, as the main motivation for energy conservation. Our findings have important implications for the development non-monetary strategies for energy conservation in developing countries.

Keywords: Energy; Conservation behavior; Information strategies; Energy feedback; Field experiment; Health information; Developing country (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D1 D8 D9 Q3 Q4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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