Peer-to-peer solar and social rewards: Evidence from a field experiment
Observability has been demonstrated to influence the adoption of pro-social behavior in a variety of contexts. This study implements a natural field experiment to examine the influence of observability in the context of a novel pro-social behavior: peer-to-peer solar. Peer-to-peer solar offers an opportunity to households who cannot have solar on their homes to access solar energy from their neighbors. However, unlike solar installations, peer-to-peer solar is an invisible form of pro-environmental behavior. We implemented a set of randomized campaigns using Facebook ads in the Massachusetts cities of Cambridge and Somerville, in partnership with a peer-to-peer company, to study social media users' interest in peer-to-peer solar through clicks on the ads. In the campaigns, treated customers were informed that they could share “green reports” online, providing information to others about their greenness. We find that interest in peer-to-peer solar increases by up to 30% when “green reports,” which would make otherwise invisible behavior visible, are mentioned in the ads.
Carattini, S.Gillingham, K., Meng, X., and Yoeli, E. (2024). Peer-to-peer solar and social rewards: Evidence from a field experiment. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 219, 340-370.
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