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The devil is in the details: Household electricity saving behavior and the role of information

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Energy Policy, Volume 38, Number 3, p.1578-1587 (2010)



The purpose of this paper is to analyze Swedish householdsĂ­ willingness to increase their daily efforts to save electricity. The analysis builds on a broad theoretical framework, which embraces both economic and norm-based motivations in explaining household behavior. The paper pays particular attention to the role of information about the availability of different behavioral changes that can be undertaken at the household level. The empirical results are based on a postal survey that was sent out to 1200 Swedish households, and the econometric analysis is carried out within a so-called ordered probit framework. Our results indicate that costs, environmental attitudes and social interactions are all important determinants of electricity saving activities within Swedish households. We tested the hypothesis that information about available savings measures that is presented in a more concrete and specific way is more likely to affect (stated) behavior than is more general information, and the data collected support this notion. The paper ends by discussing some implications of these results for the design of future informative policy measures in the energy-efficiency field.