Although promising advances have been made in the use of non-pecuniary interventions as low-cost policy instruments to encourage climate-related behavior change, a significant amount remains to be understood. Experimental evidence has shown that behavioral interventions that leverage social norms can be a reliable tool for behavior change with respect to energy conservation. We review several policy lessons based on this literature, such as how to implement social norm interventions so as to avoid counterproductive outcomes, and emphasize that more research is needed in order to further improve the effectiveness of this type of intervention. We identify a variety of topics for future research, such as complementarity with other behavioral interventions, conflict between norms pertaining to various reference groups, the dynamics of descriptive and normative information, and identity considerations.
Social norm interventions as an underappreciated lever for behavior change in energy conservation
5 June 2018