Uncertainty, loss aversion, and markets for energy efficiency
AbstractIncreasing energy efficiency is critical to mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel combustion, reducing oil dependence, and achieving a sustainable global energy system. The tendency of markets to neglect apparently cost-effective energy efficiency options has been called the "efficiency gap" or "energy paradox." The market for energy efficiency in new, energy-using durable goods, however, appears to have a bias that leads to undervaluation of future energy savings relative to their expected value. This paper argues that the bias is chiefly produced by the combination of substantial uncertainty about the net value of future fuel savings and the loss aversion of typical consumers. This framework relies on the theory of context-dependent preferences. The uncertainty-loss aversion bias against energy efficiency is quantifiable, making it potentially correctible by policy measures. The welfare economics of such policies remains unresolved. Data on the costs of increased fuel economy of new passenger cars, taken from a National Research Council study, illustrate how an apparently cost-effective increase in energy efficiency would be uninteresting to loss-averse consumers.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoArticle provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Economics.
Volume (Year): 33 (2011)
Issue (Month): 4 (July)
Contact details of provider:
Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/eneco
Energy efficiency Fuel economy Loss aversion;
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Arrow, Kenneth J & Lind, Robert C, 1970. "Uncertainty and the Evaluation of Public Investment Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(3), pages 364-78, June.
- S. Dellavigna., 2011.
"Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field,"
N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 5.
- Stefano DellaVigna, 2009. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 47(2), pages 315-72, June.
- S. Dellavigna., 2011. "Psychology and Economics: Evidence from the Field," VOPROSY ECONOMIKI, N.P. Redaktsiya zhurnala "Voprosy Economiki", vol. 4.
- Greene, David L. & Patterson, Philip D. & Singh, Margaret & Li, Jia, 2005. "Feebates, rebates and gas-guzzler taxes: a study of incentives for increased fuel economy," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(6), pages 757-775, April.
- Koszegi, Botond & Rabin, Matthew, 2004.
"A Model of Reference-Dependent Preferences,"
Department of Economics, Working Paper Series
qt0w82b6nm, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
- David Gal, 2006. "A psychological law of inertia and the illusion of loss aversion," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 1, pages 23-32, July.
- Harris, Christopher & Laibson, David, 2001.
"Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers,"
Econometric Society, vol. 69(4), pages 935-57, July.
- Christopher Harris & David Laibson, 1999. "Dynamic Choices of Hyperbolic Consumers," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1886, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
- Jaffe, Adam B. & Stavins, Robert N., 1994. "The energy-efficiency gap What does it mean?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 22(10), pages 804-810, October.
- Tversky, Amos & Kahneman, Daniel, 1992. " Advances in Prospect Theory: Cumulative Representation of Uncertainty," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 5(4), pages 297-323, October.
- Nicholas Stern, 2008. "The Economics of Climate Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 1-37, May.
- Turrentine, Tom & Kurani, Kenneth S, 2007. "Car buyers and fuel economy?," Institute of Transportation Studies, Working Paper Series qt56x845v4, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC Davis.
- Liutang Gong & William Smith & Heng-fu Zou, 2007.
"Consumption and Risk with hyperbolic discounting,"
CEMA Working Papers
491, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
- Laibson, David I., 1997.
"Golden Eggs and Hyperbolic Discounting,"
4481499, Harvard University Department of Economics.
- Benartzi, Shlomo & Thaler, Richard H, 1995.
"Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle,"
The Quarterly Journal of Economics,
MIT Press, vol. 110(1), pages 73-92, February.
- Shlomo Benartzi & Richard H. Thaler, 1993. "Myopic Loss Aversion and the Equity Premium Puzzle," NBER Working Papers 4369, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard B. Howarth & Alan H. Sanstad, 1995. "Discount Rates And Energy Efficiency," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 13(3), pages 101-109, 07.
- Paul Diederen & Frank van Tongeren & Hennie van der Veen, 2003. "Returns on Investments in Energy-saving Technologies Under Energy Price Uncertainty in Dutch Greenhouse Horticulture," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 24(4), pages 379-394, April.
- André de Palma & Moshe Ben-Akiva & David Brownstone & Charles Holt & Thierry Magnac & Daniel McFadden & Peter Moffatt & Nathalie Picard & Kenneth Train & Peter Wakker & Joan Walker, 2008.
"Risk, Uncertainty and Discrete Choice Models,"
THEMA Working Papers
2008-02, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
- Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1995. "Product Differentiation and Oligopoly in International Markets: The Case of the U.S. Automobile Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 891-951, July.
- Daniel Kahneman & Jack L. Knetsch & Richard H. Thaler, 1991. "Anomalies: The Endowment Effect, Loss Aversion, and Status Quo Bias," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 193-206, Winter.
- Amos Tversky & Itamar Simonson, 1993. "Context-Dependent Preferences," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 39(10), pages 1179-1189, October.
- Carolyn Fischer & Winston Harrington & Ian W.H. Parry, 2007. "Should Automobile Fuel Economy Standards be Tightened?," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-30.
- Hassett, Kevin A. & Metcalf, Gilbert E., 1993. "Energy conservation investment : Do consumers discount the future correctly?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 21(6), pages 710-716, June.
- Bjornstad, David J. & McKee, Michael, 2006. "Making enduring choices: Uncertainty and public policy," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5-6), pages 667-676, November.
- Turrentine, Thomas S. & Kurani, Kenneth S., 2007. "Car buyers and fuel economy?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(2), pages 1213-1223, February.
- Dreyfus, Mark K & Viscusi, W Kip, 1995. "Rates of Time Preference and Consumer Valuations of Automobile Safety and Fuel Efficiency," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(1), pages 79-105, April.
- Molly Espey & Santosh Nair, 2005.
"Automobile Fuel Economy: What Is It Worth?,"
Contemporary Economic Policy,
Western Economic Association International, vol. 23(3), pages 317-323, 07.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Wendy Shamier).
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.