08 December 2010

Peer influence and behaviour change - a wrinkle

The idea that people's motivation to change their behaviour (e.g. in energy consumption) will be boosted by knowing norms for others similar to them gets a bit of a knock from research on electricity consumption in California. Dora Costa and Matthew Kahn have found that while nudging people with norm data reduces consumption by roughly 2 per cent, this isn't evenly distributed across households. It varies according to political leanings: homeowners who identified themselves as Republicans cut consumption by only 0.4 per cent. And those Republicans with no interest in environmental causes increased electricity use by 0.75 per cent.

Clearly one nudge doesn't fit all.

[via PuttingPeopleFirst]

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