NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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David Novgorodsky

University of Chicago
Saieh Hall for Economics
1126 E. 59th St.
Chicago IL, 60637

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org
Institutional Affiliation: University of Chicago

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2016Asymmetric Effects of Non-Pecuniary Signals on Search and Purchase Behavior for Energy-Efficient Durable Goods
with J. Scott Holladay, Jacob LaRiviere, Michael Price: w22939
We report the results of a field experiment where we exogenously vary the use of social comparisons "nudges" and subsidies for participation in an in-home energy audit program, and follow subjects through to the subsequent purchase of durable goods. We therefore can compare the causal effect of financial incentives and nudges along two margins, audits, which we liken to search, and purchase of durables. Using data on nearly 100,000 households, we document an asymmetry; nudges increase audits, but lead to lower rates of purchase. We find no evidence of a differential response for those offered a financial incentive. These differences suggest heterogeneity in the motives of the marginal consumer induced by nudges versus prices.
The Behavioralist as Policy Designer: The Need to Test Multiple Treatments to Meet Multiple Targets
with Robert Hahn, Robert D. Metcalfe, Michael K. Price: w22886
We explore Tinbergen’s fundamental insight that policymakers need at least as many policy instruments as targets. We extend this idea using a large natural field experiment in water resource management. We use social comparisons and loss-framed messages to help achieve two goals of our partner utility: getting consumers to purchase drought-resistant plants and reducing water use. Our results show that seemingly related behavioral instruments can affect different household decisions. By themselves, social comparisons and loss framing have no significant impact on the number of rebate requests; when combined, however, they lead to a 36% increase in requests. Only loss framing leads to a significant increase in the purchase of drought-resistant plants, and only the social comparison reduces w...
 
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