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Journal article

Competition and norms: a self-defeating combination?


This paper investigates the effects of information feedback mechanisms on electricity and heating usage at a student hall of residence in London. In a randomised control trial, we formulate different treatments such as feedback information and norms, as well as prize competition among subjects. We show that information and norms lead to a sharp - more than 20% - reduction in overall energy consumption. Because participants do not pay for their energy consumption this response cannot be driven by cost saving incentives. Interestingly, when combining feedback and norms with a prize competition for achieving low energy consumption, the reduction effect - while present initially - disappears in the long run. This could suggest that external rewards reduce and even destroy intrinsic motivation to change behaviour.


Genevieve Alberts, Zeynep Gurguc, Pantelis Koutroumpis, Ralf Martin, Mirabelle MuŻls and Tamaryn Napp

1 September 2016


Energy Policy 96, pp.504-523, 2016


DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2016.06.001

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516302841

This Journal article is published under the centre's Growth programme.

This publication comes under the following theme: Clean growth