NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
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Florian Rundhammer

The Department of Economics
Andrew Young School of Policy Studies
PO Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
Georgia

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

NBER Working Papers and Publications

April 2017Harnessing Policy Complementarities to Conserve Energy: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment
with John A. List, Robert D. Metcalfe, Michael K. Price: w23355
The literature has shown the power of social norms to promote residential energy conservation, particularly among high usage users. This study uses a natural field experiment with nearly 200,000 US households to explore whether a financial rewards program can complement such approaches. We observe strong impacts of the program, particularly amongst low-usage and low-variance households, customers who typically are less responsive to normative messaging. Our data thus suggest important policy complementarities between behavioral and financial incentives: whereas non-pecuniary interventions disproportionately affect intense users, financial incentives are able to substantially affect the low-user, “sticky households.”
March 2017Do The Effects of Social Nudges Persist? Theory and Evidence from 38 Natural Field Experiments
with Alec Brandon, Paul J. Ferraro, John A. List, Robert D. Metcalfe, Michael K. Price: w23277
This study examines the mechanisms underlying long-run reductions in energy consumption caused by a widely studied social nudge. Our investigation considers two channels: physical capital in the home and habit formation in the household. Using data from 38 natural field experiments, we isolate the role of physical capital by comparing treatment and control homes after the original household moves, which ends treatment. We find 35 to 55 percent of the reductions persist once treatment ends and show this is consonant with the physical capital channel. Methodologically, our findings have important implications for the design and assessment of behavioral interventions.
 
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