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 lowvariance 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.”
List, John; Metcalfe, Robert; Price, Michael; and Rundhammer, Florian, "Harnessing Policy Complementarities to Conserve Energy:
Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment" (2017). ExCEN Working Papers. 18.