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Free-Riding in Tax Credits For Home Insulation in France: An Econometric Assessment Using Panel Data


  • Marie-Laure Nauleau



This econometric study assesses the efficiency of the income tax credit system implemented in France in 2005 on households’ retrofitting investment decisions, focusing on insulation measures. A logit model with random individual effects is estimated using an unbalanced panel of 23,879 households surveyed over the period 2002-2011. An estimation in difference is performed to identify the impact of the policy. The tax credit had no significant effect during the first two years, suggesting a latency period related to inertia in households’ investment decisions, possibly due to the complexity of the tax credit scheme. The tax credit had an increasing, significant positive effect from 2007 to 2010, before slightly decreasing in 2011. This is in line with changes in the tax credit rates, suggesting a correlation with the level of subsidy. Defined as the situation in which the subsidized household would have invested even in the absence of the subsidy, free-riding progressively decreased over the period and was lower for insulation of opaque surfaces (roofs, walls, etc.) than for insulation of windows. The estimated average proportion of free-riders varies between 40% and 85% after 2006. Finally, we assess the potential bias caused by time-varying unobservable variables and conclude that our estimates of the impacts of the policy are conservative.

Suggested Citation

  • Marie-Laure Nauleau, 2014. "Free-Riding in Tax Credits For Home Insulation in France: An Econometric Assessment Using Panel Data," Working Papers 2014.26, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  • Handle: RePEc:fem:femwpa:2014.26

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    Cited by:

    1. Olsthoorn, Mark & Schleich, Joachim & Gassmann, Xavier & Faure, Corinne, 2017. "Free riding and rebates for residential energy efficiency upgrades: A multi-country contingent valuation experiment," Working Papers "Sustainability and Innovation" S10/2017, Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
    2. repec:eee:ecolec:v:143:y:2018:i:c:p:294-313 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Damette, Olivier & Delacote, Philippe & Lo, Gaye Del, 2018. "Households energy consumption and transition toward cleaner energy sources," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 751-764.
    4. Marie-Laure Nauleau & Louis-Gaëtan Giraudet & Philippe Quirion, 2015. "Energy Efficiency Policy with Price-quality Discrimination," Working Papers 2015.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Nauleau, Marie-Laure & Giraudet, Louis-Gaëtan & Quirion, Philippe, 2015. "Energy efficiency subsidies with price-quality discrimination," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(S1), pages 53-62.
    6. Charlier, Dorothée & Risch, Anna & Salmon, Claire, 2018. "Energy Burden Alleviation and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction: Can We Reach Two Objectives With One Policy?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 294-313.
    7. Collins, Matthew & Curtis, John, 2016. "Willingness-to-Pay and Free-Riding in a National Energy Efficiency Retrofit Grant Scheme: A Revealed Preference Approach," Papers WP551, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    8. Charlier, Dorothée, 2015. "Energy efficiency investments in the context of split incentives among French households," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 465-479.
    9. Ó Broin, Eoin & Nässén, Jonas & Johnsson, Filip, 2015. "Energy efficiency policies for space heating in EU countries: A panel data analysis for the period 1990–2010," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 150(C), pages 211-223.
    10. Dorothée Charlier & Anna Risch & Claire Salmon, 2016. "Reducing the Energy Burden of the Poor and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Can We Kill Two Birds with One Stone?," Policy Papers 2016.01, FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists.

    More about this item


    Energy Conservation; Residential Sector; Thermal Insulation; Tax Credit; Free-Riding; Difference Estimation; Panel Data; France;

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • R22 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Other Demand
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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