Residential electricity consumption in Seattle
Recent empirical research for different regions of the United States indicates that residential electricity may be an “inferior” good whose consumption is negatively correlated with income. That is a provocative result that runs counter to what many earlier econometric studies indicate. Given that, it makes sense to examine how electricity consumption behaves in different regional service areas. Even if residential electricity is an inferior good whose usage declines as income rises, there is no guarantee that this will be the case across all service areas. This study examines residential electricity consumption for Seattle, Washington, the largest metropolitan economy in the northwestern region of the United States. Results from a dynamic error correction modeling approach indicate that residential electricity consumption reacts in statistically significant manners to changes in real price, real income, and cold weather. In the short-run, residential electricity is a normal good in this metropolitan economy. In the long-run, residential electricity appears to be an inferior good in Seattle. All else equal, whenever real per capita income growth exceeds 1.2%, per capita residential electricity usage declines in Seattle.
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