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Heterogeneous preferences and the individual change to alternative electricity contracts

Author

Listed:
  • Andreas Ziegler

    () (University of Kassel)

Abstract

Based on data from a large-scale computer-based survey among more than 3700 German citizens, this paper empirically disentangles the determinants of the general change of electricity contracts and the specific change to green electricity contracts. Our econometric analysis reveals a strong relevance of behavioral factors and individual values and norms. For example, patience (which was measured by an incentivized experiment included in the survey) has a significantly positive effect on both general switches to alternative electricity contracts and specific switches to green electricity contracts. Furthermore, trust and (less robust) social preferences (also measured by an incentivized experiment) have additional significantly positive effects on the specific change to green electricity contracts. Our estimation results also imply an important role of political identification, i.e. an ecological policy orientation is strongly significantly positively correlated with the change to green electricity contracts. Furthermore, several household specific factors like relocation decisions as well as socio-demographic and socio-economic variables like household income are also relevant. The empirical analysis thus provides new explanation patterns for the phenomenon that relatively few households regularly change their electricity contracts and specifically switch to green electricity contracts, although they have high stated preferences for such changes. Our insights suggest several directions for policy and electricity suppliers to increase these switching rates. For example, the high importance of trust for the change to green electricity contracts suggests transparency initiatives of electricity suppliers to decrease concerns against renewable energies.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Ziegler, 2018. "Heterogeneous preferences and the individual change to alternative electricity contracts," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201827, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
  • Handle: RePEc:mar:magkse:201827
    as

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Switching electricity contracts; green electricity; behavioral factors; artefactual field experiments; individual values and norms;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q50 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - General

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