IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Policy Labels and Investment Decision-making

  • Lange, Ian
  • Moro, Mirko
  • Rahman, Mohammad

Much attention in recent years has turned to the potential of behavioural insights to improve the performance of government policy. One behavioural concept of interest is the effect of a cash transfer label on how the transfer is spent. The Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) is a labelled cash transfer to offset the costs of keeping older households warm in the winter. Previous research has shown that households spend a higher proportion of the WFP on energy expenditures due to its label (Beatty et al., 2011). If households interpret the WFP as money for their energy bills, it may reduce their willingness to undertake investments which help achieving the same goal, such as the adoption of renewable energy technologies. In this paper we show that the WFP has distortionary effects on the renewable technology market. Using the sharp eligibility criteria of the WFP in a Regression Discontinuity Design, this analysis finds a reduction in the propensity to install renewable energy technologies of around 2.7 percentage points due to the WFP. This is a considerable number. It implies that 62% of households (whose oldest member turns 60) would have invested in renewable energy but refrain to do so after receiving the WFP. This analysis suggests that the labelling effect spreads to products related to the labelled good. In this case, households use too much energy from sources which generate pollution and too little from relatively cleaner technologie s.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by University of Stirling, Division of Economics in its series Stirling Economics Discussion Papers with number 2014-01.

in new window

Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2014-01
Contact details of provider: Postal: Division of Economics, University of Stirling, Stirling, Scotland FK9 4LA
Phone: +44 (0)1786 467473
Fax: +44 (0)1786 467469
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lee, David S. & Card, David, 2008. "Regression discontinuity inference with specification error," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 655-674, February.
  3. Erich Battistin & Agar Brugiavini & Enrico Rettore & Guglielmo Weber, 2008. "The retirement consumption puzzle: evidence from a regression discontinuity approach," IFS Working Papers W08/05, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Johannes Abeler & Felix Marklein, 2010. "Fungibility, Labels and Consumption," Discussion Papers 2010-13, The Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics, School of Economics, University of Nottingham.
  5. Richard H. Thaler & Shlomo Benartzi, 2004. "Save More Tomorrow (TM): Using Behavioral Economics to Increase Employee Saving," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S164-S187, February.
  6. Paul J. Ferraro & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Nonpecuniary Strategies to Influence Behavior: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 64-73, March.
  7. Qi Li & Jeffrey Scott Racine, 2006. "Nonparametric Econometrics: Theory and Practice," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8355.
  8. Laura Blow & Ian Walker & Yu Zhu, 2012. "Who Benefits From Child Benefit?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 50(1), pages 153-170, 01.
  9. Tatiana A. Homonoff, 2013. "Can Small Incentives Have Large Effects? The Impact of Taxes versus Bonuses on Disposable Bag Use," Working Papers 1483, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs In Economics," Working Papers 1118, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Peter Kooreman, 2000. "The Labeling Effect of a Child Benefit System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 571-583, June.
  12. Xavier Gin´┐Ż & Dean Karlan & Jonathan Zinman, 2010. "Put Your Money Where Your Butt Is: A Commitment Contract for Smoking Cessation," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 213-35, October.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:stl:stledp:2014-01. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Liam Delaney)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.