Managing Energy Demand With Standards and Information

September 13, 2012 - 12:00pm
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The goal of this talk is to discuss two interrelated research projects that aim to assess the welfare effects of energy policies that rely on standards and information. The first project focuses on the Energy Star certification program.  Using unique micro-data on the US refrigerator market, I first show that consumers respond to certification in different ways. Some consumers appear to rely heavily on Energy Star and pay little attention to electricity costs, others are the reverse, and still others appear to be insensitive to both electricity costs and Energy Star. I then develop a structural model of demand to capture the degree of sophistication with which consumers account for the energy efficiency attribute, and use the model to estimate the welfare effects of the Energy Star program on the US refrigerator market.   The second project complements the above analysis and investigates how firms respond to minimum and voluntary energy efficiency standards. Specifically, I develop a static multi-product oligopoly model to characterize how firms will adjust energy efficiency levels and prices when subject to standards, and I estimate the model for the US refrigerator market. The model allows investigating a rich set of counterfactual scenarios.   In this talk, I will discuss a policy analysis of the new minimum energy efficiency standards for refrigerators that will be implemented in 2014.

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