MPP Seminar – Alastair Fraser – School of Economics MPP Seminar – Alastair Fraser – School of Economics

MPP Seminar – Alastair Fraser

 Invites you to a

Microeconometrics and Public Policy Working Group

seminar presented by

Alastair Fraser

The University of Sydney

Why do people respond to success vs failure? Help me figure out a behavioural puzzle


Friday 24 September 2021

1.00pm – 2.00pm

 Via Zoom

Meeting ID: 828 086 49430

    Password: 946721

This presentation will focus on a specific puzzle that I have been asked to address as part of an R&R. I will present the puzzle — a discontinuity in the data where people are responsive to their past success vs. failure, but not to the incentive offered or information on their degree of success — and what I think are behavioural mechanisms consistent with their behaviour.

This paper investigates how households respond to repeated energy conservation goals. I track households’ program participation and electricity use decisions across successive energy conservation challenges offered by a large electrical utility company. I find the program causes households to reduce their electricity use, while electricity use rebounds towards when they stop participating. I also find that households’ decisions whether to re-enroll in the program and attempt a subsequent goal are sensitive to their success or failure in achieving their energy conservation goal but largely do not depend on their level of past effort or the incentive to continue participating. This suggests that households are inattentive to information or respond asymmetrically to success and failure in making decisions, rather than incorporating the full information on their success and effort that is readily available to them.

For further information contact:

Microeconometrics and Public Policy Working Group Seminar Coordinator

Rebecca McKibbin|email:

For all upcoming seminars in School of Economics see Our events and Calendar


Sep 24 2021


4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


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