Peters, Jörg. 2018. “Social Norms and Energy Conservation Beyond the US.” EfD Discussion Paper Series 18-16.
The seminal studies by Allcott and Mullainathan (2010), Allcott (2011), and Allcott
and Rogers (2014) show that social comparison-based home energy reports
(HER) are a cost-effective climate policy intervention in the US. Our paper demonstrates
the context-dependency of this result. In most industrialized countries,
average electricity consumption and carbon intensity are well below US levels.
Consequently, HER interventions can only become cost-effective if treatment effect
sizes are substantially higher. For Germany, we provide evidence from a large-scale
randomized controlled trial that effect sizes are in fact considerably lower than in
the US. We conclude by illustrating that targeting highly responsive subgroups is
crucial to reach cost-effectiveness and by identifying the few countries in which
HER are promising policy instruments.