Rick Larrick and I have put together an interesting paper called “Scale and metric design as choice architecture tools”, which is forthcoming in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing.
Here is the abstract:
There has been a growing interest in using behavioral decision insights to design better product labels. One specific policy target is the fuel economy label in order to encourage reduction in CO2 emissions from transport-related fossil-fuel combustion. In two online experiments the authors examined whether vehicle preferences could be shifted toward more fuel-efficient vehicles by manipulating the metric (consumption of gas vs. cost of gas) and scale (100 miles vs.15,000 miles vs. 100,000 miles) upon which fuel economy information was expressed. The authors found that preference for fuel-efficient vehicles was highest when fuel economy was expressed in terms of the cost of gas over 100,000 miles, regardless of whether the vehicle recouped its higher price in gas savings. Underlying psychological mechanisms discussed include compatibly, anchoring, and familiarity effects. The authors conclude that policy-makers should initiate programs that communicate fuel-efficiency information in terms of costs over an expanded, lifetime scale.