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Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know: Informedness and the Impact of Information Programs


  • David P. Byrne

    (University of Melbourne)

  • Andrea La Nauze

    (University of Pittsburgh)

  • Leslie A. Martin

    (University of Melbourne)


We document how imperfect information generates heterogeneous effects in information treatments with personalized high-frequency feedback and peer comparisons. In our field experiment in retail electricity, we find that high- and low-energy users symmetrically underestimate and overestimate their relative energy use pretreatment. Responses to personalized feedback, however, are asymmetric. Households that overestimate their relative use and low users both respond by consuming more. These boomerang effects provide evidence that peer-comparison information programs, even those coupled with normative comparisons, are not guaranteed to lead to increases in prosocial behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • David P. Byrne & Andrea La Nauze & Leslie A. Martin, 2018. "Tell Me Something I Don’t Already Know: Informedness and the Impact of Information Programs," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 510-527, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:100:y:2018:i:3:p:510-527

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    Cited by:

    1. D'Adda, Giovanna & Dufwenberg, Martin & Passarelli, Francesco & Tabellini, Guido, 2019. "Partial Norms," CEPR Discussion Papers 13593, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
      • Giovanna d’Adda & Martin Dufwenberg & Francesco Passarelli & Guido Tabellini, 2019. "Partial Norms," Working Papers 643, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
      • Giovanna D'Adda & Martin Dufwenberg & Francesco Passarelli & Guido Tabellini, 2019. "Partial Norms," CESifo Working Paper Series 7568, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Andor, Mark A. & Fels, Katja M. & Renz, Jan & Rzepka, Sylvi, 2018. "Do planning prompts increase educational success? Evidence from randomized controlled trials in MOOCs," Ruhr Economic Papers 790, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    3. Nicolas Astier, 2018. "Comparative Feedbacks under Incomplete Information," Post-Print hal-01465189, HAL.

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