This study leverages a large RCT to examine the potential of goal-setting nudges for conserving resources at scale. We randomize a feature that allows subjects to set themselves energy consumption targets in a popular smartphone app. We document negative effects of the nudge on app utilization and estimate null effects on energy consumption with confidence intervals that rule out estimates from observational studies. A complementary survey identifies the mechanisms underlying these behavioral responses. Using a structural model and random variation of the app’s price, we estimate that the average user is willing to pay 7.41 euros to avoid the nudge.
Professor Andreas Loeschel holds the Chair ofEnvironmental/Resource Economics and Sustainability at the RuhrUniversity Bochum since September 2021. He was fullProfessor of Economics at the University of Münster (2014-2021) and at theUniversity of Heidelberg (2010-2014) and Head of Department at ZEW - LeibnizCenter for European Economic Research. He received his PhD in Economics atthe University of Mannheim in 2003. Since 2011 he has been the chairman ofthe ExpertCommission of the German Government to monitor the energytransformation. Andreas Loeschel is a Lead Author of the IntergovernmentalPanel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the Fifth and Sixth Assessment Report (2010-14,2017-22). He is a member of the German National Academy of Science andEngineering (acatech). In the FrankfurterAllgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.) economist ranking hewas several times among the 50 most influential economists inGermany. For outstanding research in economics he received the GermanEconomics Prize of the Joachim Herz Foundation 2022.