Social norms and information diffusion in water-saving programs: Evidence from a randomisedfield experiment in Colombia

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February 2015
Paper author(s): 
Marcela Jaime Torres (University of Gothenburg – University of Concepcion)
Demographic Economics - Migration
Poverty - Inequality - Aid Effectiveness

This paper investigates the effects of an information campaign aimed at encouraging residential water-savings in Colombia. The experiment was organized as a randomised control trial, consisting of monthly delivery of consumption reports including normative messages during one year. We first evaluate the direct and indirect effects of the campaign, and then we investigate whether indirect effects are due to social networks. Results indicate that social information and appeal to norm-based behaviour has decreased water use by 5.4% during the first year following the intervention. We also find significant but short-term evidence of spillover effects. Nevertheless, these effects cannot be explained by social networks alone when social connectedness is proxied by both social and geographic proximity.


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