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The Short-Run and Long-Run Effects of Behavioral Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Energy Conservation

  • Hunt Allcott
  • Todd Rogers
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    We document three remarkable features of the Opower program, in which social comparison- based home energy reports are repeatedly mailed to more than six million households nationwide. First, initial reports cause high-frequency "action and backsliding," but these cycles attenuate over time. Second, if reports are discontinued after two years, effects are relatively persistent, decaying at 10-20 percent per year. Third, consumers are slow to habituate: they continue to respond to repeated treatment even after two years. We show that the previous conservative assumptions about post-intervention persistence had dramatically understated cost effectiveness and illustrate how empirical estimates can optimize program design.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w18492.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18492.

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    Date of creation: Oct 2012
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    Publication status: published as Allcott, Hunt, and Todd Rogers. 2014. "The Short-Run and Long-Run Effects of Behavioral Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Energy Conservation." American Economic Review, 104(10): 3003-37. DOI: 10.1257/aer.104.10.3003
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18492
    Note: EEE
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    National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.

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    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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