Testing the effect of defaults on the thermostat settings of OECD employees
AbstractWe describe a randomized controlled experiment in which the default settings on office thermostats in an OECD office building were manipulated during the winter heating season, and employees' chosen thermostat setting observed over a 6-week period. Using difference-in-differences, panel, and censored regression models (to control for maximum allowable thermostat settings), we find that a 1°C decrease in the default caused a reduction in the chosen setting by 0.38°C, on average. Sixty-five percent of this effect could be attributed to office occupant behavior (p-value=0.044). The difference-in-differences models show that small decreases in the default (1°) led to a greater reduction in chosen settings than large decreases (2°). We also find that office occupants who were more apt to adjust their thermostats prior to the intervention were less susceptible to the default. We conclude that this kind of intervention can increase building-level energy efficiency, and discuss potential explanations and broader policy implications of our findings.
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Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.
Volume (Year): 39 (2013)
Issue (Month): C ()
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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco
Behavioral economics; Energy efficiency; Field experiments;
Other versions of this item:
- Zack Brown & Nick Johnstone & Ivan Haščič & Laura Vong & Francis Barascud, 2012. "Testing the Effect of Defaults on the Thermostat Settings of OECD Employees," OECD Environment Working Papers 51, OECD Publishing.
- Zachary Brown, 2012. "Testing the Effect of Defaults on the Thermostat Settings of OECD Employees," Natural Field Experiments 00382, The Field Experiments Website.
- B5 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Current Heterodox Approaches
- C1 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General
- C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
- H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
- Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
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