The Role of Sales Agents in Information Disclosure: Evidence from a Field Experiment

57 Pages Posted: 14 Apr 2014 Last revised: 12 Apr 2021

See all articles by Hunt Allcott

Hunt Allcott

New York University (NYU)

Richard Sweeney

Harvard University

Date Written: April 2014

Abstract

With a large nationwide retailer, we run a natural field experiment to measure the effects of energy use information disclosure, customer rebates, and sales agent incentives on demand for energy efficient durable goods. While a combination of large rebates plus sales incentives substantially increases market share, information and sales incentives alone each have zero statistical effect and explain at most a small fraction of the low baseline market share. Sales agents strategically comply only partially with the experiment, targeting information at more interested consumers but not discussing energy efficiency with the disinterested majority. These results suggest that at current prices in this context, seller-provided information is not a major barrier to energy efficiency investments. We theoretically and empirically explore the novel policy option of combining customer subsidies with government-provided sales incentives.

Suggested Citation

Allcott, Hunt and Sweeney, Richard, The Role of Sales Agents in Information Disclosure: Evidence from a Field Experiment (April 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20048, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2424619

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

Richard Sweeney

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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