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The Impact of Behavioral Science Experiments on Energy Policy

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  • Robert Hahn and Robert Metcalfe

Abstract

One of the most exciting areas of research today is the use of experiments informed by behavioral science to understand how to change energy consumption decisions of consumers. This article provides a survey and synthesis of experiments and focuses on general principles that can be gleaned from these experiments to date. We identify four general insights from the literature. First, the "law of demand" is typically satisfied in experimental settings, but responsiveness to energy price changes can vary dramatically in different contexts. Second, information provision can help promote reductions in energy use, but it does not always work. Third, the use of social norms can change energy use. Finally, the economic welfare impacts of behavioral interventions aimed at promoting either energy conservation or energy efficiency are not well understood, but initial research suggests that some people want nudges and some do not. The essay also identifies a number of areas for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Hahn and Robert Metcalfe, 2016. "The Impact of Behavioral Science Experiments on Energy Policy," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
  • Handle: RePEc:aen:eeepjl:eeep5-2-hahn
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    Cited by:

    1. Linus Mattauch & Cameron Hepburn & Nicholas Stern, 2018. "Pigou Pushes Preferences: Decarbonisation and Endogenous Values," CESifo Working Paper Series 7404, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Hancevic, Pedro Ignacio & Lopez-Aguilar, Javier Alejandro, 2019. "Energy efficiency programs in the context of increasing block tariffs: The case of residential electricity in Mexico," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 131(C), pages 320-331.
    3. Werner, Peter & Riedl, Arno, 2018. "The role of experiments for policy design," Research Memorandum 022, Maastricht University, Graduate School of Business and Economics (GSBE).
    4. repec:aen:journl:ej38-4-papineau is not listed on IDEAS

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    JEL classification:

    • F0 - International Economics - - General

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