The Influences of Economic and Psychological Factors on Energy-Saving Behavior: A Field Experiment in Matsuyama, Japan
This study examines the influences of economic and psychological factors on electricity conservation behavior. A random selection of 236 Japanese households participated in the field experiment, and they were offered two interventions, such as monetary rewards depending on their reduction in electricity consumption and comparative feedback. The average saving rates of the (i) economic incentive group (5.9%) and (ii) economic incentive with comparative feedback group (8.2%) are statistically larger than those of the (iii) control group (1.6%). Our econometric analysis confirmed that economic and psychological factors have a positive influence on the decision concerning whether to save electricity, and a reward combined with comparative feedback is most effective. Psychological factors also affect the decision about how much to save electricity, while economic incentive factors do not influence this decision. In particular, social norms, which are psychological factors, have a consistent effect on both the whether and how decisions. Responses to the questionnaire before and after the experiment suggest that participants may have underestimated the marginal costs of the electricity saving.
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