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Does social interaction make bad policies even worse? Evidence from renewable energy subsidies

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  • Inhoffen, Justus
  • Siemroth, Christoph
  • Zahn, Philipp

Abstract

Minimum prices above the market level can lead to ineffcient production and oversupply. We investigate whether this effect is even more pronounced when decision makers are influenced by their social environment. Using data of minimum prices for renewable energy production in Germany, we analyze if individual decisions to install solar panels are affected by the investment decisions of others. We implement a propensity score matching routine on municipality level and estimate that existing panels in the municipality increase the probability and number of further installations considerably, even in areas with minimal solar potential. This social effect is stronger in areas with more solar potential and less unemployment. A higher number of existing panels and more concentrated installations increase the social effect further. We discuss policy implications of these social effects.

Suggested Citation

  • Inhoffen, Justus & Siemroth, Christoph & Zahn, Philipp, 2016. "Does social interaction make bad policies even worse? Evidence from renewable energy subsidies," Working Papers 16-09, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mnh:wpaper:40977
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:eee:energy:v:175:y:2019:i:c:p:1259-1270 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    EEG ; Minimum Prices ; Peer Effects ; Public Policy ; Renewable Energy ; Social Interaction ; Social Effect ; Social Multiplier ; Solar Power ; Solar Panels ; Subsidy;

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • L14 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Transactional Relationships; Contracts and Reputation
    • Q42 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Alternative Energy Sources
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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