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Incentives to (not) disclose energy performance information in the housing market

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  • Cornago, Elisabetta
  • Dressler, Luisa

Abstract

Disclosure of energy performance certificates (EPCs) is often incomplete, which hampers their effectiveness in relieving information asymmetries between landlords and tenants in the housing market. Even when a certificate is available, landlords do not always disclose it. This contradicts the unraveling result, according to which all landlords should disclose quality information unless it is costly to do so. We leverage a cross-sectional dataset of residential rental advertisements from the Belgian region of Brussels to empirically evaluate incentives to disclose an EPC. We find that two fundamental assumptions for the unraveling result are not confirmed in our setting: tenants do not necessarily value energy performance of rental property and do not appear to rationally adjust their expectations when faced with dwellings that withhold their EPC. The paper formulates specific policy advice for reforming EPC mechanisms to increase disclosure rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Cornago, Elisabetta & Dressler, Luisa, 2020. "Incentives to (not) disclose energy performance information in the housing market," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:resene:v:61:y:2020:i:c:s0928765519300697
    DOI: 10.1016/j.reseneeco.2020.101162
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    Cited by:

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    2. Giraudet, Louis-Gaëtan, 2020. "Energy efficiency as a credence good: A review of informational barriers to energy savings in the building sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information unraveling; Voluntary information disclosure; Asymmetric information; Energy efficiency; Certification;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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