BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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Default Rules as a Soft Incentive in Promoting Renewable Energy Uptake

Gewinner, Jennifer (2019). Default Rules as a Soft Incentive in Promoting Renewable Energy Uptake. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

19gewinner_j.pdf - Thesis
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The application of default rules as a soft incentive to promote renewable energy uptake has proven successful in previous research. While the strength and longevity of the default effect is demonstrated to a large extent in current studies, analysis of its heterogeneity is still missing. This study aims to explore the heterogeneity of the default effect according to customer characteristics, such as the differentiation between household customers and business customers. Building on behavioural theories, it asks: Is the default setting of renewable energy more successful in influencing the choices of household customers than business customers? In this context, the household customers are the household customers and the business customers are the commercial customers of a Swiss utility company. A customer dataset (n=237,333) received from the utility company gives insight into customers’ contract choices over four years. The main focus of the quantitative analysis is the comparison of contract choices before and after the utility company introduced a renewable energy contract as its default product. The analysis of the dataset is led by recent and established theories coming from sociology, psychology, and economics. An analysis of the data demonstrates that the default setting on renewable energy is more successful in influencing the contract choices of household customers than those of business customers. The results indicate that heterogeneity can be found in the default effect with regards to customer characteristics. On this basis, it is advisable to adjust the implementation of a default rules intervention that promotes renewable energy uptake to different customer groups. Further research is needed when it comes to exploring the dependency of the default effect on the opt-out costs and the awareness of the customer concerning the behavioural intervention.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Single
Date of Defense: 12 December 2019
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
Institute / Center: 03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Social Sciences > Institute of Sociology
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 09 Mar 2020 10:37
Last Modified: 09 Mar 2020 10:37

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