Know how vs. social norm: Experimental evidence of energy conservation information on residential electricity consumption Presenter: Asad Islam Abstract
This paper uses a randomised controlled field experiment to examine the relative effectiveness of energy conservation information in influencing urban residential electricity consumption in Bangladesh. The experiment involves 2300 households in three cities to test three types of energy conservation information: tips (knowhow) for conserving electricity; information about median electricity consumption of neighbours relative to own consumption and an encouragement/disapproval message; and information about median electricity consumption in the suburb relative to own consumption and an encouragement/disapproval message. The effects on electricity use are on average significant and stronger for households receiving the knowhow treatment than for households receiving the social norm treatments. The effects of social norm on electricity use take longer to realise in general and are as strong as the effects of knowhow on electricity use only for households that at the top of the consumption distribution. The effects become stronger over time as household receive repeated information and persist after 6 months without any repeated information. The findings suggest that conventional information and education campaign is likely more effective than social-norm nudges to help address energy challenges in a developing country context.
Know how vs. social norm: Experimental evidence of energy conservation information on residential electricity consumption