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

Listed author(s):
  • John A. List
  • Robert D. Metcalfe
  • Michael K. Price
  • Florian Rundhammer

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.”

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23355.

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Date of creation: Apr 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23355
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