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Explaining the spread of residential air conditioning, 1955-1980

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  • Biddle, Jeff

Abstract

In 1955 fewer than 2% of the nation's residences had air conditioning; by 1980 over half were air conditioned, and over a quarter had central air. This paper attempts to explain the growth and the geographic differences in the prevalence of residential air conditioning from the mid fifties to 1980. Census data and data on climate and relevant prices are combined to estimate a model that focuses on the role of economic factors, that is, geographic differences and changes over time in incomes and prices, in affecting the pattern of diffusion of residential air conditioning.

Suggested Citation

  • Biddle, Jeff, 2008. "Explaining the spread of residential air conditioning, 1955-1980," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(4), pages 402-423, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:45:y:2008:i:4:p:402-423
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    1. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226304557 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    3. Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
    4. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1, January.
    5. Lillard, Lee A & Aigner, Dennis J, 1984. "Time-of-Day Electricity Consumption Response to Temperature and the Ownership of Air Conditioning Appliances," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 2(1), pages 40-53, January.
    6. Thomas J. Holmes, 1998. "The Effect of State Policies on the Location of Manufacturing: Evidence from State Borders," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(4), pages 667-705, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Auffhammer, Maximilian & Mansur, Erin T., 2014. "Measuring climatic impacts on energy consumption: A review of the empirical literature," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 522-530.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Residential air conditioning New product diffusion Electricity rates Climate;

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    1. Historical Economic Geography

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