Overcoming Salience Bias: How Real-Time Feedback Fosters Resource Conservation

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IZA Seminar

Place: Schaumburg-Lippe-Str. 9, 53113 Bonn

Date: 31.03.2015, 12:15 - 13:30

   

Presentation by 

Lorenz Götte (University of Bonn)
   

Abstract:

Inattention and imperfect information bias behavior towards the salient and immediately visible. They drive individuals to lose sight of long-term goals, such as leading a sustainable and healthy life, and promote overindulgence and waste. We show that providing real-time feedback on a specific resourceintense behavior can be a powerful remedy for this bias: In a large-scale field experiment, participants receive real-time feedback on their resource use. We find that this approach reduced resource consumption by 22% - much larger conservation gains than conventional policy interventions achieve. Real-time feedback directly overcomes salience bias, and avoids the negative psychological pressure that has been observed with widely-used policy interventions. Providing real-time feedback has the potential for cost-effective policy interventions aimed at resource conservation, and could help individuals eliminate salience bias in other domains of life.

   
   
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