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Testing for crowd out in social nudges: Evidence from a natural field experiment in the market for electricity

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  • Alec Brandon
  • John List
  • Robert Metcalfe
  • Michael Price
  • Florian Rundhammer

Abstract

This study considers the response of household electricity consumption to social nudges during peak load events. Our investigation considers two social nudges. The first targets conservation during peak load events, while the second promotes aggregate conservation. Using data from a natural field experiment with 42,100 households, we find that both social nudges reduce peak load electricity consumption by 2 to 4% when implemented in isolation and by nearly 7% when implemented in combination. These findings suggest an important role for social nudges in the regulation of electricity markets and a limited role for crowd out effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Alec Brandon & John List & Robert Metcalfe & Michael Price & Florian Rundhammer, 2018. "Testing for crowd out in social nudges: Evidence from a natural field experiment in the market for electricity," Natural Field Experiments 00641, The Field Experiments Website.
  • Handle: RePEc:feb:natura:00641
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    1. Montgomery, W. David, 1972. "Markets in licenses and efficient pollution control programs," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 395-418, December.
    2. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, April.
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    1. Peter John Robinson & W. J. Wouter Botzen, 2022. "Setting descriptive norm nudges to promote demand for insurance against increasing climate change risk," The Geneva Papers on Risk and Insurance - Issues and Practice, Palgrave Macmillan;The Geneva Association, vol. 47(1), pages 27-49, January.
    2. Wang, Wenjie & Ida, Takanori & Shimada, Hideki, 2020. "Default effect versus active decision: Evidence from a field experiment in Los Alamos," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 128(C).
    3. Brülisauer, Marcel & Goette, Lorenz & Jiang, Zhengyi & Schmitz, Jan & Schubert, Renate, 2020. "Appliance-specific feedback and social comparisons: Evidence from a field experiment on energy conservation," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 145(C).
    4. Ghesla, Claus & Grieder, Manuel & Schmitz, Jan & Stadelmann, Marcel, 2020. "Pro-environmental incentives and loss aversion: A field experiment on electricity saving behavior," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 137(C).
    5. Chi L. Ta, 2021. "Theoretical and Empirical Evaluation of a Competitive Energy Rebate Program," CESifo Working Paper Series 8948, CESifo.
    6. d'Adda, Giovanna & Galliera, Arianna & Tavoni, Massimo, 2020. "Urgency and engagement: Empirical evidence from a large-scale intervention on energy use awareness," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 81(C).
    7. James R. Meldrum & Hannah Brenkert-Smith & Patricia A. Champ & Jamie Gomez & Hilary Byerly & Lilia Falk & Christopher M. Barth, 2021. "Would you like to know more? The effect of personalized wildfire risk information and social comparisons on information-seeking behavior in the wildland–urban interface," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 106(3), pages 2139-2161, April.
    8. Jessoe, Katrina & Lade, Gabriel E. & Loge, Frank & Spang, Edward, 2021. "Residential water conservation during drought: Experimental evidence from three behavioral interventions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 110(C).
    9. Spandagos, Constantine & Baark, Erik & Ng, Tze Ling & Yarime, Masaru, 2021. "Social influence and economic intervention policies to save energy at home: Critical questions for the new decade and evidence from air-condition use," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 143(C).

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