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Agency and Control Problems in US Corporations: The Case of Energy-efficient Investment Projects

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  • Stephen Decanio

Abstract

Private sector corporations in the United States fall short of their potential to increase shareholders'1 wealth in a number of ways. One example is the failure to undertake profitable energy conservation investments. Explanations of this phenomenon include agency and moral hazard problems, imperfect information and incentives, myopia, and X-inefficiency. Data from a survey conducted by the US Environmental Protection Agency and from interviews with corporate executives are used to explore these hypotheses. Good overall corporate performance is found to be associated with longer internal payback requirements for energy investments. Suggestions for improving corporate decision-making in this area are proposed.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Decanio, 1994. "Agency and Control Problems in US Corporations: The Case of Energy-efficient Investment Projects," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 105-124.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:ijecbs:v:1:y:1994:i:1:p:105-124
    DOI: 10.1080/758540502
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Olsthoorn, Mark & Schleich, Joachim & Hirzel, Simon, 2017. "Adoption of Energy Efficiency Measures for Non-residential Buildings: Technological and Organizational Heterogeneity in the Trade, Commerce and Services Sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 240-254.
    2. Michael Toman, 1998. "Research Frontiers in the Economics of Climate Change," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 11(3), pages 603-621, April.
    3. O'Malley, Eoin & Scott, Susan & Sorrell, Steve, 2003. "Barriers to Energy Efficiency: Evidence from Selected Sectors," Research Series, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI), number PRS47.
    4. Unruh, Gregory C., 2000. "Understanding carbon lock-in," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 817-830, October.
    5. repec:eee:rensus:v:74:y:2017:i:c:p:538-547 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Graus, Wina & Worrell, Ernst, 2008. "The principal-agent problem and transport energy use: Case study of company lease cars in the Netherlands," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(10), pages 3745-3753, October.
    7. Schleich, Joachim, 2009. "Barriers to energy efficiency: A comparison across the German commercial and services sector," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(7), pages 2150-2159, May.
    8. DeCanio, Stephen J, 1998. "The efficiency paradox: bureaucratic and organizational barriers to profitable energy-saving investments," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(5), pages 441-454, April.
    9. Stranlund, John K., 1997. "Public Technological Aid to Support Compliance to Environmental Standards," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 228-239, November.
    10. Cagno, E. & Worrell, E. & Trianni, A. & Pugliese, G., 2013. "A novel approach for barriers to industrial energy efficiency," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 19(C), pages 290-308.
    11. Barbara Praetorius, 1996. "Nachfrageseitiges Marktversagen auf dem Energiemarkt: Empirische Evidenz, theoretische Aspekte, politische Folgerungen," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 65(2), pages 143-155.
    12. Daan van Soest & Erwin Bulte, 2001. "Does the Energy-Efficiency Paradox Exist? Technological Progress and Uncertainty," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 18(1), pages 101-112, January.
    13. Schleich, Joachim & Gruber, Edelgard, 2008. "Beyond case studies: Barriers to energy efficiency in commerce and the services sector," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 449-464, March.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Energy; Efficiency; Agency problems; Myopia; Incentives; Information; Theory of the firm; Organizational behavior; Environment; JEL classifications: D2; D7; D8; L2; Q2; Q4;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • D7 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy

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