Behavioral Interventions in Resource Conservation: A System Approach Based on Behavioral Economics

Winkler, R. C., & Winett, R. A. (1982). Behavioral interventions in resource conservation: A system approach based on behavioral economics. American Psychologist, 37, 4, 421-435.

Outlines some of the advantages of an integration of psychological (social-learning) and economic conceptualizations when developing behavioral interventions in resource conservation. The procedures and results of rebate studies in residential energy and water conservation are presented in which rebates were used as a method to modify conservation behaviors and to estimate experimental price elasticity in contrast to the usual econometric methods. A meta-analysis is performed on behavioral energy studies conducted from 1973 to 1980, which shows that the effectiveness of rebates and feedback is partially explained by an economic factor. Also reviewed are field-based studies designed to modify perceptions of comfort and residential energy conservation in addition to the development of a rebate system instituted to reduce domestic water consumption. Maximization theory is offered as an integrative, conceptual framework that may be useful for planning resource conservation interventions. (49 ref)

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