Social comparison nudges without monetary incentives: Evidence from home energy reports

Erica Myers, Mateus Souza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the mechanisms driving the effectiveness of a widely-used behavioral intervention that reduces energy consumption by repeatedly mailing social comparison-based home energy reports (HERs) to households. With a randomized controlled trial, we introduce HERs in a college residence, where tenants do not pay energy bills. Our results indicate that HERs induced almost no behavioral changes for heating demand, with precise estimates that allow us to rule out thermostat changes greater than 0.36 °F. To the extent that our findings can be extrapolated to other non-dormitory residential contexts, this suggests that behavioral channels, such as competitiveness, social norms, or moral suasion, may not motivate conservation in the absence of direct monetary incentives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102315
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
StatePublished - May 2020


  • Behavioral nudges
  • Energy conservation
  • Moral suasion
  • Social norms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Social comparison nudges without monetary incentives: Evidence from home energy reports'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this