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Cash for Coolers

  • Lucas W. Davis
  • Alan Fuchs
  • Paul J. Gertler

This paper examines a large-scale appliance replacement program in Mexico that since 2009 has helped 1.5 million households replace their old refrigerators and air-conditioners with energy-efficient models. Using household-level electric billing records from the population of Mexican residential customers we find that refrigerator replacement reduces electricity consumption by an average of 11 kilowatt hours per month, about a 7% decrease. We find that air conditioning replacement, in contrast, increases electricity consumption by an average of 6 kilowatt hours per month, with larger increases during the summer. To put these results in context we present a simple conceptual framework in which energy-efficient durable goods cost less to operate, so households use them more. This behavioral response, sometimes called the "rebound" effect, is important for air-conditioners, but not important for refrigerators.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18044.

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Date of creation: May 2012
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Cash for Coolers: Evaluating a Large-Scale Appliance Replacement Program in Mexico” (with Alan Fuchs and Paul Gertler), American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, forthcoming.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18044
Note: EEE
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