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Harnessing Policy Complementarities to Conserve Energy: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment

Author

Listed:
  • John A. List
  • Robert D. Metcalfe
  • Michael K. Price
  • Florian Rundhammer

Abstract

The literature has shown the power of social norms to promote residential energy conservation, particularly among high usage users. This study uses a natural field experiment with nearly 200,000 US households to explore whether a financial rewards program can complement such approaches. We observe strong impacts of the program, particularly amongst low-usage and low-variance households, customers who typically are less responsive to normative messaging. Our data thus suggest important policy complementarities between behavioral and financial incentives: whereas non-pecuniary interventions disproportionately affect intense users, financial incentives are able to substantially affect the low-user, “sticky households.”

Suggested Citation

  • John A. List & Robert D. Metcalfe & Michael K. Price & Florian Rundhammer, 2017. "Harnessing Policy Complementarities to Conserve Energy: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," NBER Working Papers 23355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23355
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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