The Role of Sales Agents in Information Disclosure: Evidence from a Field Experiment

with Hunt Allcott , Management Science (2017)


With a large nationwide retailer, we run a natural field experiment to measure the effects of energy use information disclosure, customer rebates, and sales agent incentives on demand for energy-efficient durable goods. Although a combination of large rebates plus sales incentives substantially increases market share, information and sales incentives alone each have zero statistical effect and explain at most a small fraction of the low baseline market share. Sales agents strategically comply only partially with the experiment, targeting information to more interested consumers but not discussing energy efficiency with the disinterested majority. These results suggest that seller-provided information is not a major barrier to energy-efficiency investments at current prices in this context.