Can Self-Set Goals Encourage Resource Conservation? Field Experimental Evidence from a Smartphone App

81 Pages Posted: 17 Sep 2020 Last revised: 21 Jul 2022

See all articles by Andreas Löschel

Andreas Löschel

University of Muenster - Chair of Microeconomics, esp. Energy and Resource Economics

Matthias Rodemeier

Bocconi University

Madeline Werthschulte

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

This study leverages a large RCT to examine the potential of goal-setting nudges for resource
conservation at scale. We randomize a feature that allows subjects to set themselves
energy consumption targets in a popular smartphone app. We document negative effects of
the nudge on app utilization and estimate null effects on energy consumption with confidence
intervals that rule out estimates from observational studies. A complementary survey
identifies the mechanisms underlying these behavioral responses. Using a structural model
and random variation of the app’s price, we estimate that the average user is willing to pay
7.41 EUR to avoid the nudge.

Keywords: Nudging, goal setting, scalability, field experiments, energy, behavioral welfare economics, mobile phones

JEL Classification: C93, D91, Q49

Suggested Citation

Löschel, Andreas and Rodemeier, Matthias and Werthschulte, Madeline, Can Self-Set Goals Encourage Resource Conservation? Field Experimental Evidence from a Smartphone App (2020). ZEW - Centre for European Economic Research Discussion Paper No. 20-039, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3693673 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3693673

Andreas Löschel (Contact Author)

University of Muenster - Chair of Microeconomics, esp. Energy and Resource Economics ( email )

Universitätsstr. 14-16
48143 Munster
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.wiwi.uni-muenster.de/eroe

Matthias Rodemeier

Bocconi University ( email )

Via Sarfatti, 25
Milan, MI 20136
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/view/matthiasrodemeier/

Madeline Werthschulte

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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