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Incentives to (not) Disclose Energy Performance Information in the Housing Market

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  • Elisabetta Cornago
  • Luisa Dressler

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 value energy performance of rental property only when dwellings are of very high quality 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

  • Elisabetta Cornago & Luisa Dressler, 2018. "Incentives to (not) Disclose Energy Performance Information in the Housing Market," Working Papers ECARES 2018-34, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/278920
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    Cited by:

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Information Unraveling; Voluntary Information Disclosure; Asymmetric;
    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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