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Using Nonpecuniary Strategies to Influence Behavior: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment

Paul Ferraro () and Michael Price ()

The Review of Economics and Statistics, 2013, vol. 95, issue 1, 64-73

Abstract: Policymakers are increasingly using norm-based messages to influence individual decision making. We partner with a metropolitan water utility to implement a natural field experiment to examine the effect of such messages on residential water demand. The data, drawn from more than 100,000 households, indicate that social comparison messages had a greater influence on behavior than simple prosocial messages or technical information alone. Moreover, our data suggest that social comparison messages are most effective among households identified as the least price sensitive: high users. Yet the effectiveness of such messages wanes over time. Our results thus highlight important complementarities between pecuniary and nonpecuniary strategies. © 2013 The President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Keywords: social norms; natural field experiment; water demand (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D03 C93 L95 Q21 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Working Paper: Using Non-Pecuniary Strategies to Influence Behavior: Evidence from a Large Scale Field Experiment (2011) Downloads
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The Review of Economics and Statistics is currently edited by Amitabh Chandra, Olivier Coibion, Bryan S. Graham, Shachar Kariv, Amit K. Khandelwal, Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Brigitte C. Madrian and Rohini Pande

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