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Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Indiana

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  • Matthew J. Kotchen
  • Laura E. Grant

Abstract

The history of Daylight Saving Time (DST) has been long and controversial. Throughout its implementation during World Wars I and II, the oil embargo of the 1970s, consistent practice today, and recent extensions, the primary rationale for DST has always been to promote energy conservation. Nevertheless, there is surprisingly little evidence that DST actually saves energy. This paper takes advantage of a natural experiment in the state of Indiana to provide the first empirical estimates of DST effects on electricity consumption in the United States since the mid-1970s. Focusing on residential electricity demand, we conduct the first-ever study that uses micro-data on households to estimate an overall DST effect. The dataset consists of more than 7 million observations on monthly billing data for the vast majority of households in southern Indiana for three years. Our main finding is that -- contrary to the policy's intent -- DST increases residential electricity demand. Estimates of the overall increase are approximately 1 percent, but we find that the effect is not constant throughout the DST period. DST causes the greatest increase in electricity consumption in the fall, when estimates range between 2 and 4 percent. These findings are consistent with simulation results that point to a tradeoff between reducing demand for lighting and increasing demand for heating and cooling. We estimate a cost of increased electricity bills to Indiana households of $9 million per year. We also estimate social costs of increased pollution emissions that range from $1.7 to $5.5 million per year. Finally, we argue that the effect is likely to be even stronger in other regions of the United States.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew J. Kotchen & Laura E. Grant, 2008. "Does Daylight Saving Time Save Energy? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Indiana," NBER Working Papers 14429, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14429
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lisa A. Kramer & Mark J. Kamstra & Maurice D. Levi, 2000. "Losing Sleep at the Market: The Daylight Saving Anomaly," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1005-1011, September.
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    6. Kellogg, Ryan & Wolff, Hendrik, 2008. "Daylight time and energy: Evidence from an Australian experiment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 207-220, November.
    7. Shimoda, Yoshiyuki & Asahi, Takahiro & Taniguchi, Ayako & Mizuno, Minoru, 2007. "Evaluation of city-scale impact of residential energy conservation measures using the detailed end-use simulation model," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(9), pages 1617-1633.
    8. Aries, Myriam B.C. & Newsham, Guy R., 2008. "Effect of daylight saving time on lighting energy use: A literature review," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 1858-1866, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Felix Weinhardt, 2013. "The Importance of Time Zone Assignment: Evidence from Residential Electricity Consumption," SERC Discussion Papers serddp0126, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    2. Verdejo, Humberto & Becker, Cristhian & Echiburu, Diego & Escudero, William & Fucks, Emiliano, 2016. "Impact of daylight saving time on the Chilean residential consumption," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 456-464.
    3. Havranek, Tomas & Herman, Dominik & Irsova, Zuzana, 2016. "Does Daylight Saving Save Energy? A Meta-Analysis," MPRA Paper 74518, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Jin, Lawrence & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2015. "Does Daylight Saving Time Really Make Us Sick?," IZA Discussion Papers 9088, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Hill, S.I. & Desobry, F. & Garnsey, E.W. & Chong, Y.-F., 2010. "The impact on energy consumption of daylight saving clock changes," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 4955-4965, September.
    6. Wolff, Hendrik & Makino, Momoe, 2012. "Extending Becker's Time Allocation Theory to Model Continuous Time Blocks: Evidence from Daylight Saving Time," IZA Discussion Papers 6787, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Crowley, Sara & FitzGerald, John & Malaguzzi Valeri, Laura, 2014. "Changing Time: Possible Effects on Peak Electricity Generation," Papers WP486, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    8. William Michelson, 2011. "Sleep Time: Media Hype vs. Diary Data," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 101(2), pages 275-280, April.
    9. Robert Hahn & Robert D. Metcalfe & David Novgorodsky & Michael K. Price, 2016. "The Behavioralist as Policy Designer: The Need to Test Multiple Treatments to Meet Multiple Targets," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2016-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    10. Jennifer L. Doleac & Nicholas J. Sanders, 2012. "Under the Cover of Darkness: Using Daylight Saving Time to Measure How Ambient Light Influences Criminal Behavior," Discussion Papers 12-004, Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.
    11. Sexton, Alison L. & Beatty, Timothy K.M., 2014. "Behavioral responses to Daylight Savings Time," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 290-307.
    12. repec:eee:ecmode:v:70:y:2018:i:c:p:390-400 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Daniela Marshall, 2010. "El Consumo Eléctrico Residencial en Chile en 2008," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 47(135), pages 57-89.
    14. Klein, Daniel R. & Olonscheck, Mady & Walther, Carsten & Kropp, Jürgen P., 2013. "Susceptibility of the European electricity sector to climate change," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 183-193.
    15. Jin, L. & Ziebarth, N.R., 2015. "Sleep and Human Capital: Evidence from Daylight Saving Time," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 15/27, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    16. Herber, Stefanie P. & Quis, Johanna Sophie & Heineck, Guido, 2015. "Does the transition into daylight saving time affect students' performance?," BERG Working Paper Series 100, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
    17. Markus Schaffner & Jayanta Sarkar & Benno Torgler & Uwe Dulleck, 2015. "The Implications of Daylight Saving Time: A Field Experiment on Cognitive Performance and Risk Taking," QuBE Working Papers 030, QUT Business School.
    18. Krarti, Moncef & Hajiah, Ali, 2011. "Analysis of impact of daylight time savings on energy use of buildings in Kuwait," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(5), pages 2319-2329, May.
    19. Shaffer, Blake, 2017. "Location matters: daylight saving time and electricity use," MPRA Paper 84053, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    20. Kountouris, Yiannis & Remoundou, Kyriaki, 2014. "About time: Daylight Saving Time transition and individual well-being," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 100-103.
    21. repec:eee:eneeco:v:66:y:2017:i:c:p:247-260 is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Hancevic, Pedro & Margulis, Diego, 2016. "Daylight saving time and energy consumption: The case of Argentina," MPRA Paper 80481, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Bergland, Olvar & Mirza, Faisal, 2017. "Latitudinal Effect on Energy Savings from Daylight Savings Time," Working Paper Series 08-2017, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, School of Economics and Business.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H43 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Project Evaluation; Social Discount Rate
    • Q4 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects

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