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Using behavioral insights to make firms more energy efficient: A field experiment on the effects of improved communication

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  • Rosenkranz, Stephanie
  • Vringer, Kees
  • Dirkmaat, Thomas
  • van den Broek, Eva
  • Abeelen, Christiaan
  • Travaille, Anjo

Abstract

The Dutch government provides annual, detailed, energy-efficiency feedback to individual companies that have signed a voluntary agreement to increase their energy efficiency. However, only about 14% of all companies actually download their dedicated report containing this feedback. To increase the assumed positive effect of the feedback, the Dutch government aims to increase this download rate. Drawing upon insights from behavioral economics, the present study investigates the effects of alternative emails, inviting to download the feedback report, on 505 companies´ download behavior, in a randomized controlled field experiment with two treatment groups and one control group. The download rates for our treatment groups are more than three times higher compared to the control group. Survey results indicate that the follow up behavior does not differ between the respondents who were nudged and those who were not. Moreover, we found indications that downloading the report induces the energy coordinators to consider energy-saving measures. More generally we have shown that policy targeting energy saving of firms can benefit from using behavioral insights. Relatively small changes in the implementation of specific interventions can have large influences on the effectiveness of the policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Rosenkranz, Stephanie & Vringer, Kees & Dirkmaat, Thomas & van den Broek, Eva & Abeelen, Christiaan & Travaille, Anjo, 2017. "Using behavioral insights to make firms more energy efficient: A field experiment on the effects of improved communication," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 184-193.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:184-193
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2017.05.056
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Maria Gleerup & Anders Larsen & Soren Leth-Petersen & Mikael Togeby, 2010. "The Effect of Feedback by Text Message (SMS) and Email on Household Electricity Consumption: Experimental Evidence," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 113-132.
    2. Glenn W. Harrison & John A. List, 2004. "Field Experiments," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1009-1055, December.
    3. Abeelen, Christiaan & Harmsen, Robert & Worrell, Ernst, 2013. "Implementation of energy efficiency projects by Dutch industry," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C), pages 408-418.
    4. Biesiot, Wouter & Noorman, Klaas Jan, 1999. "Energy requirements of household consumption: a case study of The Netherlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(3), pages 367-383, March.
    5. Glenn W. Harrison & Morten I. Lau & E. Elisabet Rutström, 2007. "Estimating Risk Attitudes in Denmark: A Field Experiment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 109(2), pages 341-368, June.
    6. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1082-1095, October.
    7. Laura C. Haynes & Donald P. Green & Rory Gallagher & Peter John & David J. Torgerson, 2013. "Collection of Delinquent Fines: An Adaptive Randomized Trial to Assess the Effectiveness of Alternative Text Messages," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 32(4), pages 718-730, September.
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    9. Sebastien Houde, Annika Todd, Anant Sudarshan, June A. Flora , and K. Carrie Armel, 2013. "Real-time Feedback and Electricity Consumption: A Field Experiment Assessing the Potential for Savings and Persistence," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
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    Cited by:

    1. Spandagos, Constantine & Yarime, Masaru & Baark, Erik & Ng, Tze Ling, 2020. "“Triple Target” policy framework to influence household energy behavior: Satisfy, strengthen, include," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 269(C).
    2. Loureiro, Maria & Labandeira, Xavier, 2019. "Exploring Energy Use in Retail Stores: A Field Experiment," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(S1).

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    Keywords

    Behavioral insights; Firms; Energy saving; Feedback;

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