Institut for Virksomhedsledelse

John Thøgersen

The Importance of Framing for Consumer Acceptance of the Smart Grid: A Comparative Study of Denmark, Norway and Switzerland

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review

If the development of a "Smart Grid” is pursued, participation from the residential sector is an important factor. Based on the assumption that the decision, as well as the amount of effort put into a decision, differs depending on the default, this study examines the impact of the careful choice of the default on consumers’ participation rate in the Smart Grid. In an online experiment in three countries, participants (N = 3,802) were randomly assigned to three conditions, two of which (opt-in versus opt-out) implied different defaults and the third was “neutral” in terms of defaults (i.e., participants had to make an active choice). Next, the experiment was replicated in a field setting with homeowners having a heat pump (N = 140). An important finding from the field experiment is that in practice it may not be possible to force people to make an active choice. As expected, both studies find that an opt-out frame leads to a significantly higher participation rate than an opt-in frame. When participants are forced to make an active choice (neutral condition), the same level of participation as in the opt-out condition is found. This suggests that the two conditions are equally effective at overcoming the temptation to procrastinate and at stimulating a reasoned and deliberate choice process. Hence, when promoting Smart Grid technology to private households an opt-out framing is superior to an opt-in framing both in terms of effectiveness and stimulating a reasoned choice process.
TidsskriftEnergy Research & Social Science
Sider (fra-til)113–123
StatusUdgivet - 2014

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