Can we make social information programs more effective? The role of identity and values

Can we make social information programs more effective? The role of identity and values

Bonan J., Cattaneo C., D’Adda G., Tavoni M., (2019), Can we make social information programs more effective? The role of identity and values, RFF-CMCC EIEE Working Paper Series, webpage

Abstract

Social information programs are increasingly used to nudge behavioural change, and the literature documents strong heterogeneity in their impact along household and individual traits. Using data from a large field experiment on household energy conservation, we combine electricity metering and survey data to study how environmental values affect the impact of the program. We then leverage the role of values by augmenting social information messages with an environmental self-identity prime. We find that social information is more effective when environmental self-identity is made more salient, but only among individuals who acted pro-environmentally in the past.

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