This is the result of a current study by the employer-related Institute of the German Economy (IW), which is available to the editorial network Germany (RND/Saturday).

The IW experts Malte Küper and Jennifer Potthoff refer to a field experiment in Great Britain in which so-called “nudges” were used in a targeted manner. Private households received information about their own gas consumption and that of households of a similar size in the vicinity. There were also savings tips. This led to an average reduction in gas consumption of 9.6 percent.

Applied to the current situation in Germany, according to the study, an average two-person household (annual consumption 16,400 kilowatt hours) would use almost 1,600 kilowatt hours less, which corresponds to a saving of 280 euros. A four-person household would even add up to 420 euros.

Private households could be motivated by self-commitment and concrete goals, feedback and social comparison: “Nudging makes saving gas easier and can even be fun, for example with gamification elements such as a child shower competition, neighborhood comparisons or concrete goals and plans for saving gas “, says the study.

Nudges could thus create “additional and above all positive motivation” to reduce natural gas consumption. They could also be implemented relatively easily and without high costs for households, which ensures social acceptability and the acceptance of these measures tends to be relatively high.”

However, the IW experts also draw attention to the fact that “behavioral economics instruments are not the only and all-encompassing solution to the current emergency”. Rather, they should be introduced in addition to classic market instruments such as the price. Küper and Potthoff therefore recommend that politicians use a combination of price and behavioral incentives.

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