Joint Discussion Paper Series in Economics 34-2015
Which behavior-based interventions are more appropriate to induce energy saving: energy saving goals with or without incentive, energy saving products, environmentally related information, social comparison or competition? We try to answer this question in a comprehensive study. First, we designed energy bills with different behavioral interventions. Second, we evaluated their appropriateness in an empirical survey with 457 participants. Third, we tested behavioral consequences in real effort lab experiments with 550 subjects in 11 treatments and one baseline. Our results indicate that monetary incentives to save energy might foster the intention to invest effort in energy saving but backfire if factual performance is required. Instead, fostering non-incentivized self-set goals and providing social comparison induced substantial effort to protect the environment. Non-incentivized competition to save energy provided the best results. Our study concludes with implications for practical policy design and further need of research.
Environmental behavior Goals Incentives Social Comparison Competition Experiment