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

65 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2012

See all articles by Hunt Allcott

Hunt Allcott

New York University (NYU)

Todd Rogers

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS)

Date Written: October 2012

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Allcott, Hunt and Rogers, Todd, The Short-Run and Long-Run Effects of Behavioral Interventions: Experimental Evidence from Energy Conservation (October 2012). NBER Working Paper No. w18492, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2167595

Hunt Allcott (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Todd Rogers

Harvard University - Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) ( email )

79 John F. Kennedy Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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