Pro-Environmental Incentives and Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment on Electricity Saving Behavior

Energy Policy, 137, 2020

30 Pages Posted: 12 Jun 2018 Last revised: 27 Feb 2020

See all articles by Claus Ghesla

Claus Ghesla

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Manuel Grieder

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS); Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Jan Schmitz

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics

Marcel Stadelmann

Independent

Date Written: November 27, 2019

Abstract

This paper reports evidence from a field experiment investigating households' electricity saving behavior. We motivated households' efforts to save electricity via pro-environmental incentives that did not affect people's monetary utility but targeted their environmental preferences. The results show that such pro-environmental incentives can be effective, especially when framed as potential losses to the environment. Our loss-framed pro-environmental incentive led households to save 5% on their monthly electricity consumption compared to a control group.

Keywords: Pro-environmental behavior, Ecological incentives, Loss aversion, Loss framing, Randomized field experiments, Energy conservation

JEL Classification: D12, D91, Q48

Suggested Citation

Ghesla, Claus and Grieder, Manuel and Schmitz, Jan and Stadelmann, Marcel, Pro-Environmental Incentives and Loss Aversion: A Field Experiment on Electricity Saving Behavior (November 27, 2019). Energy Policy, 137, 2020. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3186068 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3186068

Claus Ghesla (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

Haldeneggsteig 4
Zurich, Zurich 8006
Switzerland

Manuel Grieder

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

Chair of Economics
Clausiusstrasse 87
Zurich, 8093
Switzerland

Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW)

Center for Energy and the Environment
School of Management and Law
Winterthur, CH 8401
Switzerland

Jan Schmitz

Radboud University Nijmegen - Department of Economics ( email )

Nijmegen, 6500 HK
Netherlands

Marcel Stadelmann

Independent ( email )

No Address Available
United States

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