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Energy and Climate Change

Using behavioral insights to make firms more energy efficient: A field experiment on the effects of improved communication

Article | 05-06-2017

The Dutch government provides annual, detailed, energy-efficiency feedback to individual companies that have signed a voluntary agreement to increase their energy efficiency. However, only about 14% of all companies actually download their dedicated report containing this feedback.

To increase the assumed positive effect of the feedback, the Dutch government aims to increase this download rate.

Drawing upon insights from behavioral economics, the present study investigates the effects of alternative emails, inviting to download the feedback report, on 505 companies´ download behavior, in a randomized controlled field experiment with two treatment groups and one control group. The download rates for our treatment groups are more than three times higher compared to the control group.

Survey results indicate that the follow up behavior does not differ between the respondents who were nudged and those who were not. Moreover, we found indications that downloading the report induces the energy coordinators to consider energy-saving measures. More generally we have shown that policy targeting energy saving of firms can benefit from using behavioral insights. Relatively small changes in the implementation of specific interventions can have large influences on the effectiveness of the policy.

Author(s)Rosenkranz, S., K. Vringer, T. Dirkmaat, E. van den Broek, Ch. Abeelen and A. Travaille
Publication date05-06-2017
PublicationEnergy Policy
ReferenceVolume 108, September 2017, Pages 184–193