The role of behavioural insights to facilitate conservation of water & building behavioural insights capacity in local government (2014 - 2019)
Date: 2014 - 2019
Research team: This project is being conducted by researchers from a number of organisations, including RUBEN, the Environmental Policy Research Unit (EPRU), and iCOMMS. Researchers include: Martine Visser (RUBEN & EPRU), Kerri Brick (EPRU), Samantha De Martino (EPRU), Jorge Garcia, Johanna Brühl (EPRU), Ulrike Rivett (iCOMMS) Megan McLaren (iCOMMS, Masters)
In the first stage of this project, a large scale randomised control trial (around 400,000 households) was conducted where behavioural nudges were sent to households with their monthly municipal bill over a period of 6 months to motivate water savings. A number of framings were used, for example a social norm message compared a household’s consumption to the average for their neighbourhood and a financial loss message quantified the loss from not reducing consumption.
While the first stage of the project was focused around the design and roll-out of the study, the second part is focused around knowledge and skills transfer and the integration of the learnings within the structures and staff at the City of Cape Town. Working papers from the first stage of the project
Eskom billing study (2014 - 2015)
Date: 2014 - 2015
Research team: Martine Visser, Grant Smith and Johanna Brühl
The study experimentally investigated the role of improved timing and salience of information imparted in providing customers with utility bills. We specifically studied the impact of redesigning the utility bills and testing how different treatments fare in improving general understanding of the bill. We further investigated the role of timely messaging in reminding people about their consumption to improve salience issues in dealing with electricity usage.
Western Cape behaviour change project (2012 - 2015)
Date: 2012 - 2015
Research team: This project was conducted by researchers from a number of organisations, including RUBEN and Ideas42. Researchers included: Justine Burns (RUBEN), Saugato Datta (Ideas42), Ingrid Shaw, Brendan Maughan-Brown, Martine Visser (RUBEN), Marina Dimova (Ideas42) and Matthew Darling (Ideas42).
This project ran for four years, and was initiated by the Western Cape Government (through the Department of the Premier, in collaboration with four other government departments) in an attempt to use principles of behavioural economics to improve the implementation and effectiveness of policy. The project comprised four pilot projects, and two campaigns. The pilot projects focused on:
In addition to the four pilot projects, the project also helped design and implement two short-term campaigns; one aimed at reducing road fatalities over the Christmas period and the second aimed at encouraging individuals to get tested for HIV.
School of Economics Building
University of Cape Town