Goals, Incentives, and Information in Water Conservation

Last registered on April 12, 2022


Trial Information

General Information

Goals, Incentives, and Information in Water Conservation
Initial registration date
April 07, 2022

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
April 12, 2022, 8:14 AM EDT

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



Primary Investigator

University of Melbourne

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
National University of Singapore

Additional Trial Information

In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Ensuring sustainable water usage is an ever-pressing concern for Australia and internationally for counties like Singapore. By partnering with a water utility, this project aims to combine large scale field experiments, machine learning, and data from smart devices that provide real-time feedback. This new knowledge will underpin the empirical development of new behavioural economic models (habit, beliefs formation, and reference-dependent decision making with rational inattention). These models will be able to be immediately deployed, informing policies designed to promote water conservation, encourage efficient water network investment, and help households anticipate and reduce water costs, particularly among disadvantaged groups.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Byrne, David and Lorenz Goette. 2022. "Goals, Incentives, and Information in Water Conservation." AEA RCT Registry. April 12. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.9028-1.0
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


The experiment examples how goals, information, and incentives provided through GreenBeā€™s Water Savers mobile app influences water usage. We experimentally manipulate the design of weekly Water Savers Challenges on the mobile app to gain such behavioral insights.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Household water usage at the individual level measured within 30-minute intervals from smart water meters.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
2 x 2 experimental design that considers combinations of {high incentives for meeting goals, low incentives for meeting goals} x {easy water usage reduction goals, hard water usage reduction goals}
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was done in the office by a computer
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
500 households
Sample size: planned number of observations
2,688,000 half-hourly water usage levels at the individual level (500 households x 16 weeks x 7 days/week x 48 intervals/day)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
100 households control, 100 households in one of 4 different experimental conditions that have 2 x 2 combinations of {high incentives, low incentives} x {easy goals, hard goals}
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
The minimum detectable effect size of 3% reduction of off baseline (within the household) daily water usage. The standard deviation of daily water usage is 500 L per day.
Supporting Documents and Materials

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Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
University of Melbourne Office of Research Ethics and Integrity Human Research Ethics Committee
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