The impact of information-based interventions on conservation behavior: A meta-analysis

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Interest in using information-based interventions to induce energy and water conservation has increased in recent years but have shown mixed evidence of their effectiveness. This paper seeks to answer two main questions - whether these programs are broadly effective in inducing conservation, and what are the most effective versions of these programs. Using a meta-analysis of 116 studies, we examine the effects of information-based interventions on residential customers' consumption of electricity, gas, and water. We find evidence of publication bias in this literature. After correcting for publication bias, meta-analysis results indicate that information-based interventions reduce consumption by an average of 6.24%, 95% CI [-10.72, -1.76]. In addition, we find that studies employing RCTs find smaller conservation effects, (-5.2%, 95% CI [−9.53, −0.51]). Our results show that the effectiveness of information-based interventions at the household level are significantly larger than those at the aggregate level (such as dorms and buildings). Finally, interventions with a shorter duration or with more frequent reporting show larger estimated effect sizes.

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Resource and Energy Economics

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