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Distributional and Welfare Impacts of Renewable Subsidies in Italy

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  • Distante, Roberta
  • Verdolini, Elena
  • Tavoni, Massimo

Abstract

We empirically assess the distributional impacts and welfare effects of policies to incentivize renewable electricity production for the case of Italy. We use data from the Household Budget Survey between 2000 and 2010 to estimate a demand system in which energy goods' shares of expenditure are modelled using different empirical approaches. We show that the general Exact Affine Stone Index (EASI) demand system provides more robust estimates of price elasticities of each composite good than the commonly used Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS). The estimated coefficients are used to perform a welfare analysis of the Italian renewable electricity production incentive policy. We show that different empirical approaches give rise to significantly different estimates of price elasticities and that methodological choices are the reasons for the very high elasticities of substitutions estimated using similar data by previous contributions. We find no evidence of regressivity of the incidence of the Italian renewable incentive scheme in the period under consideration. The renewable subsidies act as a middle-class tax, with the higher welfare losses experienced by households in the second to fourth quintiles of the expenditure distribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Distante, Roberta & Verdolini, Elena & Tavoni, Massimo, 2016. "Distributional and Welfare Impacts of Renewable Subsidies in Italy," MITP: Mitigation, Innovation and Transformation Pathways 236238, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM).
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:feemmi:236238
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.236238
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/236238/files/NDL2016-036.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Severin Borenstein, 2017. "Private Net Benefits of Residential Solar PV: The Role of Electricity Tariffs, Tax Incentives, and Rebates," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(S1), pages 85-122.
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    7. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-326, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Matthew Collins & Seraphim Dempsey & John Curtis, 2018. "Householder Preferences for the Design of an Energy Efficiency Retrofit Subsidy in Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 49(2), pages 145-172.
    2. Collins, Matthew & Dempsey, Seraphim & Curtis, John, 2017. "Financial incentives for residential energy efficiency investments in Ireland: Should the status quo be maintained?," Papers WP562, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Resource /Energy Economics and Policy;

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • H22 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Incidence
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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