Though nudges are gaining attention as complements to traditional policies, evidence of the interplay between these two policy instruments is lacking. Here, we discuss and evaluate how combinations of traditional tools and nudges may affect individuals’ attitude towards energy consumption. Through an online experiment (N=566), we assess the impact of an energy policy mix which combines a traditional instrument (tax rebate) and a nudge (goal setting and feedback). We introduce an innovative incentive-compatible task: participants are asked to optimize their energy consumption on a virtual washing machine. Our findings do not show evidence of positive synergies between the traditional and the behavioral tools. Specifically, adding the economic incentive to the nudge neither strengthens the effect of the latter nor increases its medium-term impact. Our results suggest that a policy mix characterized by multiple stimuli can overwhelm individuals and eventually backfire.
Nudges: complements or substitutes of traditional energy policy instruments?
|Nudges and traditional policies: experimental evidence of substitution effects for energy consumption|
|Valeria Fanghella, Matteo Ploner and Massimo Tavoni|