Incentivized Learning and Attention-driven Treatment Effects: a Field Experiment on Energy Conservation

85 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2022 Last revised: 26 Dec 2023

See all articles by Marco Castillo

Marco Castillo

Texas A&M University

Ragan Petrie

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics; University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Date Written: December 19, 2023

Abstract

We investigate how incentives affect learning when attention is multidimensional. Households are provided high-frequency information on gas usage and/or monetary incentives to reduce energy consumption. Information coupled with incentives leads to lower consumption, and information without incentives leads to higher consumption. Higher consumption persists a year later for those who did not receive incentives. Both groups accessed the same information technology to learn preferences and costs for warmer/colder indoor temperatures yet have different durable treatment effects. Incentives focused learning on cost, rather than comfort - those offered incentives explored colder house temperatures, while those without incentives tried a warmer house. Objective, real-time information can produce opposite behavior, as incentives affect learning.

Keywords: Learning, selective attention, incentives, field experiment, energy usage

JEL Classification: D91, D12, C93

Suggested Citation

Castillo, Marco and Petrie, Ragan, Incentivized Learning and Attention-driven Treatment Effects: a Field Experiment on Energy Conservation (December 19, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4261298 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4261298

Marco Castillo

Texas A&M University ( email )

5201 University Blvd.
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.marcocastillo.org

Ragan Petrie (Contact Author)

Texas A&M University - Department of Economics ( email )

4228 TAMU
College Station, TX 77843-4228
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.raganpetrie.org/

University of Melbourne - Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research ( email )

Level 5, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street
Parkville, Victoria 3010
Australia

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