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Imperfect Procedural Knowledge: Evidence from a Field Experiment to Encourage Water Conservation

Sebastian Tonke

VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics from Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association

Abstract: Individuals often desire to achieve certain outcomes, but potentially lack the procedural knowledge on how to do so. This study provides causal evidence that imperfect procedural knowledge is a severe obstacle to efficient behavior, but can be overcome by providing low-cost information. I conduct a large-scale field experiment with a public water utility to encourage water conservation during a drought. Providing mass-targeted conservation strategies via text message decreases consumption by 5.2 percent. Additional treatments encouraging individuals to develop own strategies are ineffective and rule out alternative explanations such as reminders, awareness of water scarcity, or being asked to reduce consumption.

Keywords: Field experiment; information provision; resource conservation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C93 D91 Q25 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-exp and nep-knm
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:zbw:vfsc20:224536

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