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Communicating resourcefully: a natural field experiment on environmental framing and cognitive dissonance in going paperless

Greer Gosnell

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: In a large-scale natural field experiment comprising 38,654 customers of a renewable energy supplier in the United Kingdom, we randomize environmental information and dissonance-inducing messaging to promote an active switch from paper to online billing. We find that environmental information and imagery is ineffective in inducing behavior change. Interestingly, the dissonance-inducing messaging weakly improves uptake by 1.2 percentage points among our main sample but backfires among a subsample of individuals with doctoral educations, decreasing uptake by 6.2 percentage points relative to a control group. Contrary to the majority of the literature on gender and environmental behavior, females in our sample are less likely to switch to paperless billing.

Keywords: Natural field experiment; message framing; cognitive dissonance; information provision; imagery; resource use; paperless billing; ES/K006576/1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D12 D83 L21 Q29 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018-12-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-exp and nep-neu
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

Published in Ecological Economics, 1, December, 2018, 154, pp. 128-144. ISSN: 0921-8009

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