NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

The Role of Sales Agents in Information Disclosure: Evidence from a Field Experiment

Hunt Allcott, Richard Sweeney

NBER Working Paper No. 20048
Issued in April 2014
NBER Program(s):   EEE

With a large nationwide retailer, we run a natural field experiment to measure the effects of energy use information disclosure, customer rebates, and sales agent incentives on demand for energy efficient durable goods. While a combination of large rebates plus sales incentives substantially increases market share, information and sales incentives alone each have zero statistical effect and explain at most a small fraction of the low baseline market share. Sales agents strategically comply only partially with the experiment, targeting information at more interested consumers but not discussing energy efficiency with the disinterested majority. These results suggest that at current prices in this context, seller-provided information is not a major barrier to energy efficiency investments. We theoretically and empirically explore the novel policy option of combining customer subsidies with government-provided sales incentives.

download in pdf format
   (557 K)

email paper

This paper was revised on March 16, 2015

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20048

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded* these:
Houde w20019 How Consumers Respond to Environmental Certification and the Value of Energy Information
Allcott and Taubinsky w19713 The Lightbulb Paradox: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments
Davis and Metcalf w20720 Does Better Information Lead to Better Choices? Evidence from Energy-Efficiency Labels
Allcott w20363 Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview
Jacobsen, LaRiviere, and Price w20266 Public Goods Provision in the Presence of Heterogeneous Green Preferences
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us