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

40 Pages Posted: 1 May 2017 Last revised: 25 Apr 2022

See all articles by John A. List

John A. List

University of Chicago - Department of Economics

Robert Metcalfe

University of Chicago - Becker Friedman Institute for Economics

Michael Price

Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Florian Rundhammer

Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: April 2017

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

List, John A. and Metcalfe, Robert and Price, Michael and Rundhammer, Florian, Harnessing Policy Complementarities to Conserve Energy: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment (April 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23355, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2961080

John A. List (Contact Author)

University of Chicago - Department of Economics ( email )

1126 East 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Robert Metcalfe

University of Chicago - Becker Friedman Institute for Economics ( email )

Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Michael Price

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

Florian Rundhammer

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

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