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Competition and norms: A self-defeating combination?

Listed author(s):
  • Alberts, Genevieve
  • Gurguc, Zeynep
  • Koutroumpis, Pantelis
  • Martin, Ralf
  • Muûls, Mirabelle
  • Napp, Tamaryn

This paper investigates the effects of information feedback mechanisms on electricity and heating usage at a student hall of residence in London. In a randomised control trial, we formulate different treatments such as feedback information and norms, as well as prize competition among subjects. We show that information and norms lead to a sharp – more than 20% - reduction in overall energy consumption. Because participants do not pay for their energy consumption this response cannot be driven by cost saving incentives. Interestingly, when combining feedback and norms with a prize competition for achieving low energy consumption, the reduction effect – while present initially – disappears in the long run. This could suggest that external rewards reduce and even destroy intrinsic motivation to change behaviour.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516302841
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

Volume (Year): 96 (2016)
Issue (Month): C ()
Pages: 504-523

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Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:96:y:2016:i:c:p:504-523
DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.06.001
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

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