Rational Information Acquisition and Energy Efficiency

Last registered on October 23, 2020


Trial Information

General Information

Rational Information Acquisition and Energy Efficiency
Initial registration date
October 21, 2020

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 23, 2020, 9:41 AM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.


Primary Investigator

University of Queensland

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
University of Pittsburgh
PI Affiliation
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
This experiment tests whether consumers optimally acquire information about product attributes when making purchase decisions. We develop a theoretical model of consumer choice that shows that rational consumers should acquire information about a product attribute based on their ex-ante beliefs about it: 1) when it is most likely to be pivotal to their choice, 2) when they are more uncertain, and 3) if they face lower information costs. We then show that for information acquisition to be optimal, the value of information should increase 1:1 with consumers’ willingness to pay for it. If consumers’ initial beliefs about that attribute are biased, their information choices may not be optimal. We experimentally test whether the three conditions hold for rational information acquisition based on ex-ante beliefs. Then, we test whether information choices were optimal ex-post. If not, we explore whether the bias in ex-ante beliefs has implications for the welfare effects of information acquisition.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Ding, Yue, Andrea La Nauze and Erica Myers. 2020. "Rational Information Acquisition and Energy Efficiency." AEA RCT Registry. October 23. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.6656-1.0
Experimental Details


Energy Efficiency Information
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Willingness to pay for information
The change in willingness to pay for bulbs after receiving information about lifetime energy costs
Value of information
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Willingness to pay for information and lightbulbs is inferred from an incentive-compatible BDM style mechanism. The value of information is also inferred from the change in willingness to pay measured using repeated incentive-compatible BDM mechanisms and prices offered in the experiment.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
We elicit participants’ beliefs about lifetime energy costs, willingness to pay for information about lightbulbs’ lifetime energy costs, and cost of effort.
We generate random variation in whether participants have access to the information conditional on their willingness to pay.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization done by a computer.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
The treatment share is an outcome of the experiment. The probability of treatment is conditional on willingness to pay for information and is on the interval [0,1].
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Pittsburgh Human Research Protection Office
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials