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NBER Working Papers and Publications
|December 2016||Asymmetric Effects of Non-Pecuniary Signals on Search and Purchase Behavior for Energy-Efficient Durable Goods|
with J. Scott Holladay, David M. Novgorodsky, 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.
|June 2014||Public Goods Provision in the Presence of Heterogeneous Green Preferences|
with Mark Jacobsen, Michael Price: w20266
We develop a model of the private provision of public goods in a world where agents face convex costs of provision. Consonant with prior empirical evidence, we introduce preference heterogeneity by allowing a subset of agents to exhibit pro-social behavior that reflects "green" preferences. We use the model to compare different policies to promote private provision of public goods such as environmental quality or energy conservation. Counter to the standard result, we find that technology standards are frequently preferred to price-based instruments. Extending the model to allow for both benefit and cost heterogeneity, we find that policy choice depends on the correlation between the two forms of heterogeneity.