The short-run and long-run effects of behavioral interventions: Experimental evidence from energy conservation

Hunt Allcott, Todd Rogers

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    We document three remarkable features of the Opower program, in which social comparison-based home energy reports are repeatedly mailed to more than six million households nationwide. First, initial reports cause high-frequency "action and backsliding," but these cycles attenuate over time. Second, if reports are discontinued after two years, effects are relatively persistent, decaying at 10-20 percent per year. Third, consumers are slow to habituate: they continue to respond to repeated treatment even after two years. We show that the previous conservative assumptions about post-intervention persistence had dramatically understated cost effectiveness and illustrate how empirical estimates can optimize program design.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)3003-3037
    Number of pages35
    JournalAmerican Economic Review
    Volume104
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics

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