Behavioral determinants of household energy efficiency in a development context
Last registered on November 30, 2017

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Behavioral determinants of household energy efficiency in a development context
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0002484
Initial registration date
September 29, 2017
Last updated
November 30, 2017 9:55 AM EST
Location(s)

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Primary Investigator
Affiliation
University of California at Berkeley
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Additional Trial Information
Status
In development
Start date
2017-10-01
End date
2018-12-31
Secondary IDs
Abstract
While increasing attention has focused on behavioral biases as barriers to energy efficiency in developed contexts, little work exists in developing settings. We partner with a major producer of energy efficient, charcoal stoves in Kenya to study how limited attention, product uncertainty, and mental accounting affect the perceptions of energy savings and subsequent technology adoption and usage. We first prompt potential purchasers to exercise greater attention by calculating expected savings from the stove. We then study the relationship between this inattention problem and traditional uncertainty by cross-randomizing whether participants have access to a trial stove for a week before making their purchasing decision. Then, to understand whether households view energy savings through the lens of mental accounting we randomly allocate cash transfers equivalent to the expected savings and test for differences in consumption responses. Finally, we use high-frequency monitors to estimate how cash transfers induce consumption changes in order to benchmark the household’s welfare gains derived from improved energy efficiency. Pilot work is ongoing, and we expect to launch the baseline in Spring 2018.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Berkouwer, Susanna and Joshua Dean. 2017. "Behavioral determinants of household energy efficiency in a development context." AEA RCT Registry. November 30. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/2484/history/23605
Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
This pilot, running from October 2017 - February 2018, will consist of randomized household subsidies of energy efficient cookstoves for 200 households residing in Kibera. A randomized, continuous range of subsidies will induce two groups: adopters and non-adopters. Compliance with subsidies is not expected to be perfect, hence subsidies will be used as an instrument for cookstove ownership. Follow-up via SMS with all households will measure energy expenditures post-intervention.

A more complex experimental treatment design will be used for the full-size study later in 2018.
Intervention Start Date
2017-10-01
Intervention End Date
2018-12-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
The pilot will primarily focus on the following two outcomes: - WTP for energy efficient cookstoves - Energy expenditures post-intervention The more complex treatment design in 2018 will contain additional outcome variables.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
WTP: elicited through a BDM mechanism.
Energy expenditures: total household spending on charcoal elicited through follow-up SMS.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
During the pilot, we employ a BDM mechanism to elicit household willingness-to-pay for an energy efficient cookstove, and conditional on household willingness-to-pay, randomize cookstove ownership. Our goal is to enrol 200 households (from a sample pool of 300 recruited households) consisting of 100 adopters and 100 non-adopters. Through an SMS survey we then measure recurring charcoal expenditures to experimentally test for any reduction in energy spending for households in the treatment group. In addition to qualitative information the pilot design will generate two quantitative outcomes: 1) A precise demand curve of cookstoves across a dense distribution of price points, and 2) The treatment effect of cookstove ownership on energy expenditures.


We first prompt potential purchasers to exercise greater attention by calculating expected savings from the stove. We then study the relationship between this inattention problem and traditional uncertainty by cross-randomizing whether participants have access to a trial stove for a week before making their purchasing decision. Then, to understand whether households view energy savings through the lens of mental accounting we randomly allocate cash transfers equivalent to the expected savings and test for differences in consumption responses. Finally, we use high-frequency monitors to estimate how cash transfers induce consumption changes in order to benchmark the household’s welfare gains derived from improved energy efficiency.
Experimental Design Details
Not available
Randomization Method
Randomization done in office by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Household.
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
N/A
Sample size: planned number of observations
For the pilot: 200 households. A larger sample will be used for the full study.
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 cookstove adopters and 100 non-adopters.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number