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Energy Efficiency Economics and Policy

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  • Kenneth Gillingham
  • Richard G. Newell
  • Karen Palmer

Abstract

Energy efficiency and conservation are considered key means for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and achieving other energy policy goals, but associated market behavior and policy responses have engendered debates in the economic literature. We review economic concepts underlying consumer decision making in energy efficiency and conservation and examine related empirical literature. In particular, we provide an economic perspective on the range of market barriers, market failures, and behavioral failures that have been cited in the energy efficiency context. We assess the extent to which these conditions provide a motivation for policy intervention in energy-using product markets, including an examination of the evidence on policy effectiveness and cost. Although theory and empirical evidence suggests there is potential for welfare-enhancing energy efficiency policies, many open questions remain, particularly relating to the extent of some key market and behavioral failures.

Suggested Citation

  • Kenneth Gillingham & Richard G. Newell & Karen Palmer, 2009. "Energy Efficiency Economics and Policy," NBER Working Papers 15031, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15031
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy

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