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Switch off the light, please! Energy use, aging population and consumption habits

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  • Bardazzi, Rossella
  • Pazienza, Maria Grazia

Abstract

In parallel with worldwide population growth, Europe is experiencing a fast demographic shift widely studied but generally undervalued by policymakers. Population aging may imply smaller household sizes and more home-based energy consumption, which will change the energy mix. Consumer preference shifts and different attitudes towards environment among the generations determine additional effects. Study of the link between an aging population and energy demand is even more important for Italy because its energy dependence is almost complete and its population is aging quickly. This paper aims to assess the role of changing generational preferences in the energy expenditure trend in Italy by distinguishing between a pure age effect and a cohort effect. The decomposition shows significant differences in the shape of age and cohort effects, thus confirming that, beside an aging effect, we must consider that recent generations have a higher residential energy expenditure. Indeed, the energy culture of post war Italian generations seems more linked to thermal comfort (heating and air conditioning) than to environmental attitudes.

Suggested Citation

  • Bardazzi, Rossella & Pazienza, Maria Grazia, 2017. "Switch off the light, please! Energy use, aging population and consumption habits," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 161-171.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eneeco:v:65:y:2017:i:c:p:161-171
    DOI: 10.1016/j.eneco.2017.04.025
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    Keywords

    Energy consumption; Cohort effects; Pseudopanel data;

    JEL classification:

    • C2 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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