Open Letters, 16 January 2011

In October 2010, a group of leading thinkers on environmental policy met at the Sustainable Consumption Institute at the University of Manchester for a conference in honour of Nobel Laureate Tom Schelling. This column presents a 10-point guideline for climate change policy co-authored by 26 attendees that focuses on designing policies that are credible, easily monitored, and easily enforced.

Dora Costa, Matthew Kahn, 19 May 2010

How should households be encouraged to reduce electricity consumption? This column presents evidence from the US of a randomised “nudging” strategy – providing energy saving tips as well as information on electricity usage relative to neighbours. It finds that while energy conservation nudges work with liberals, they backfire with conservatives. Certain pockets of Republican registered voters actually increased their electricity consumption in reaction to the nudge.