Making It Easier to Be Green

kermit-the-frogThe Nudge blog updates readers on a pilot project that seeks to reduce the carbon footprint in the United Kingdom:

The residents are asked to make pledges in a face-to-face conversation with one of the canvassers who have been going door-to-door in this area.

They are only asked to make some limited pledges – to choose three out of nine options on the pledge card they are shown.

And posters on lampposts proclaim the number of households in that street who have agreed to participate.

There are a couple interesting aspects of social norming and persuasion at work here. First, residents know that someone is paying attention to the decisions they make. If they say no, they must turn away a person, rather than hang up on a phone solicitor or delete an e-mail. Second, people know whether their neighbors are participating from the lamppost signs. If many others are joining in, there’s increasing pressure to say yes when a volunteer knocks on your door.

(Note: this entry originally appeared at

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