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Which green nudge helps to save energy? Experimental evidence

Christoph Buehren () and Maria Daskalakis ()
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Christoph Buehren: Clausthal University of Technology
Maria Daskalakis: University of Kassel

MAGKS Papers on Economics from Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung)

Abstract: Which behavioral interventions are more appropriate to induce energy saving: energy saving goals with or without monetary incentives, environmentally related information, social comparison, or a competition to save energy? We try to answer this question in a comprehensive study. First, we designed energy bills with different behavioral interventions. Second, we evaluated their appropriateness in an empirical survey with 457 participants. Third, we tested behavioral consequences in a “real effort†lab experiment with 550 subjects in 11 treatments and one baseline. Finally, we tested two interventions in a small field experiment with 36 test-households. Our results indicate that monetary incentives to save energy foster the intention to invest effort in energy saving but may backfire if real effort is required. Instead, self-set goals – without monetary incentives – and providing social comparison induced substantial effort in our lab experiment. Extending the social comparison to a competition – without monetary incentives – provided the best results. In our field experiment, however, we find no support that goals and social comparison change every-day behavior in energy consumption. Our study concludes with implications for practical policy design and possible future research.

Keywords: Energy-saving; Goals; Social Comparison; Competition; Real effort experiment (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 D03 D12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 30 pages
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cbe, nep-ene, nep-env and nep-exp
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:mar:magkse:202042

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