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Housing, Energy Cost, and the Poor – Counteracting Effects in Germany’s Housing Allowance Program

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  • Peter Grösche

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Abstract

Adequate housing and affordable warmth are essential human needs, the lack of which may seriously harm people’s health. Germany provides an allowance to low-income households, covering the housing as well as the space heating cost, to protect people from the consequences of poor housing conditions and fuel poverty. In order to limit public expenditures, payment recipients are required to choose low-cost dwellings, with the consequence that they probably occupy flats with a poor thermal performance. Recipients are thus likely to have a higher energy consumption and energy expenditures. Using a large data set of German households, this paper demonstrates that this counteracting effect is of negligible magnitude. Yet, from an ecological perspective, the allowance scheme creates distorted incentives and should be reformed.

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Paper provided by Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen in its series Ruhr Economic Papers with number 0110.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: May 2009
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Handle: RePEc:rwi:repape:0110

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Keywords: Housing allowance; energy efficiency; simultaneous-equation system;

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  1. Peter Grösche, 2008. "Measuring Residential Energy Efficiency Improvements with DEA," Ruhr Economic Papers 0060, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
  2. Kelvin J. Lancaster, 1966. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 74, pages 132.
  3. Weicher, John C. & Thibodeau, Thomas G., 1988. "Filtering and housing markets: An empirical analysis," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 21-40, January.
  4. Bradshaw, Jonathan & Hutton, Sandra, 1983. "Social policy options and fuel poverty," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 3(3-4), pages 249-266, September.
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