11 Apr 2014

Do people use less water due to non-price signals?

Yes, says Paul Ferraro, who sent me a slew of papers with the following introduction:*
  1. Ferraro and Price (2013) in ReStat [pdf] measures average effects of three treatments and looks at heterogeneous responses in a really coarse way.
  2. Ferraro et al. (2011) in AER P&P [pdf] looks at persistence of effects for another couple of years (only the social comparison nudge effect persists)
  3. Ferraro and Miranda (2013) REE [pdf] looks more deeply/carefully at heterogeneity (wealthy users, heavy water users and homeowners respond most to the social comparison nudge) and tries to illuminate the mechanisms (e.g., changes come from outdoor water use and, most likely, behavioral changes rather than tech investment).
  4. Bernedo et al. in JCP [pdf] pushes persistence farther (2007-2013) and generates more evidence about mechanisms (does a bit better job than the REE by showing that nudges affect the homeowner behavior, not any capital investments in the home)
  5. Bolsen et al. in AJPS [pdf] looks at effects conditional on political attributes of the households (the most interesting, in my view, is that Republicans and Democrats respond equally to the nudge).
I suggest you read these AFTER you read my book :)

* Here are the formal references:
  1. Ferraro, PJ, M Price. 2013. "Using Non-pecuniary Strategies to Influence Behavior: evidence from a large-scale field experiment." The Review of Economics and Statistics 95(1): 64-73.
  2. Ferraro, PJ, JJ Miranda, M Price. 2011. "Persistence of Treatment Effects with Norm-based Policy Instruments: evidence from a randomized environmental policy experiment." American Economic Review: papers and proceedings 101(3): 318–22.
  3. Ferraro, PJ, JJ Miranda. 2013. "Heterogeneous Treatment Effects and Causal Mechanisms in Non-pecuniary, Information-based Environmental Policies: evidence from a large-scale field experiment." Resource and Energy Economics 35: 356-379.
  4. Bernedo, M, PJ Ferraro, M Price. "The Persistent Impacts of Norm-based Messaging and their Implications for Water Conservation." Working paper (under review).
  5. Bolsen, T, PJ Ferraro, JJ Miranda. 2014. "Are Voters More Likely to Contribute to Other Public Goods? Evidence from a Large-Scale Randomized Policy Experiment." The American Journal of Political Science 58(1): 17-30.

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