Public Commitment and Energy Conservation

Shippee, G. E., & Gregory, W. L. (1982). Public commitment and energy conservation. American Journal of Community Psychology, 10, 1, 81-93.

A field experiment was conducted to evaluate comparatively the effectiveness of two community interventions designed to reduce energy consumption. Building on prior research which discovered that energy conservation could be increased if residents perceived themselves to be publicly committed to conservation, the present research evaluatively contrasted "mild" and "strong" forms of public commitment. The results suggested that the milder form of public commitment which simply associated volunteers in an energy conservation program to community conservation efforts was more effective than a strong commitment intervention. The latter intervention was designed to inform the community at large of the progress registered (energy saved) by program participants. Various conceptual explanations for this effect are explored and the policy implications for community energy conservation programming are also discussed.

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