Information Strategies for Energy Conservation: A Field Experiment in India
54 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2017
Date Written: September 22, 2017
Little is known about the effectiveness of information strategies on energy conservation in developing countries. In this study, we conduct a field experiment in an apartment complex in India to test how information about electricity usage impacts the electricity consumption of urban middle class households. Our results, based on fifteen-minute electricity readings over an academic year, show that non-monetary messages that framed electricity consumption in terms of environmental and health impacts were more effective than messages emphasizing the monetary savings of reducing electricity consumption. Households in the environmental/health group accessed the online energy-monitoring dashboard more frequently and reduced their electricity usage by 18.4% relative to the control group. Households in the monetary group did not significantly alter their usage. These results about revealed preferences are contrasted with stated preferences disclosed in a survey of urban Indians who describe money, not health, as the main motivation for energy conservation. Our findings have important implications for the development non-monetary strategies for energy conservation in developing countries.
Keywords: energy, conservation behavior, information strategies, energy feedback, field experiment, health information, developing country
JEL Classification: C93, D11, I12, I18, O13, Q5, Q53, Q56, Q 57, P18, P46, P48
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