IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

California Energy Efficiency: Lessons for the Rest of the World, or Not?

  • Arik Levinson

Starting in the 1970s California's residential electricity consumption per capita stopped increasing, while other states' electricity use continued to grow steadily. Similar patterns can be seen in non-electric energy, industry, and transportation. What accounts for California's apparent energy savings? Some credit the strict energy efficiency standards for buildings and appliances enacted by California in the mid-1970s. They argue that other states and countries could replicate California's gains, and that California should build on its own success by tightening those standards further. Skeptics might point to three long-run trends that differentiate California's electricity demand from other states: (1) shifting of the U.S. population towards warmer climates of the South and West; (2) relatively small income elasticity of energy demand in California's temperate climate; and (3) evolving differences between the demographics of households in California and other states. Together, these trends account for around 90 percent of California's apparent residential electricity savings, thus providing no lessons for other states or countries considering adopting or tightening their energy efficiency standards.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: Access to the full text is generally limited to series subscribers, however if the top level domain of the client browser is in a developing country or transition economy free access is provided. More information about subscriptions and free access is available at Free access is also available to older working papers.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19123.

in new window

Date of creation: Jun 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Levinson, Arik, 2014. "California energy efficiency: Lessons for the rest of the world, or not?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 107(PA), pages 269-289.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19123
Note: EEE
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Phone: 617-868-3900
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Arik Levinson, 2001. "Energy Use By Apartment Tenants When Landlords Pay For Utilities," Working Papers gueconwpa~01-01-09, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Grant D. Jacobsen & Matthew J. Kotchen, 2010. "Are Building Codes Effective at Saving Energy? Evidence from Residential Billing Data in Florida," NBER Working Papers 16194, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Roland-Holst, David W., 2008. "Energy efficiency, innovation, and job creation in California," CUDARE Working Paper Series 1069, University of California at Berkeley, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Policy.
  4. Alan S. Blinder, 1973. "Wage Discrimination: Reduced Form and Structural Estimates," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 8(4), pages 436-455.
  5. Palmer, Karen & Grausz, Samuel & Beasley, Blair & Brennan, Tim, 2012. "Putting a Floor on Energy Savings: Comparing State Energy Efficiency Resource Standards," Discussion Papers dp-12-11, Resources For the Future.
  6. Cebula, Richard & Herder, Nate, 2009. "An Empirical Analysis of Determinants of Commercial and Industrial Electricity Consumption," MPRA Paper 56763, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  7. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 2010. "Why Has California's Residential Electricity Consumption Been So Flat since the 1980s?: A Microeconometric Approach," NBER Working Papers 15978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hunt Allcott & Michael Greenstone, 2012. "Is There an Energy Efficiency Gap?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(1), pages 3-28, Winter.
  9. Sudarshan, Anant, 2013. "Deconstructing the Rosenfeld curve: Making sense of California's low electricity intensity," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 197-207.
  10. Kaufman, Noah & Palmer, Karen, 2010. "Energy-Efficiency Program Evaluations: Opportunities for Learning and Inputs to Incentive Mechanisms," Discussion Papers dp-10-16, Resources For the Future.
  11. Ronald Oaxaca, 1971. "Male-Female Wage Differentials in Urban Labor Markets," Working Papers 396, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  12. Chong, Howard, 2012. "Building vintage and electricity use: Old homes use less electricity in hot weather," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 906-930.
  13. Brounen, Dirk & Kok, Nils & Quigley, John M., 2012. "Residential energy use and conservation: Economics and demographics," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(5), pages 931-945.
  14. Anin Aroonruengsawat, Maximilian Auffhammer, and Alan H. Sanstad, 2012. "The Impact of State Level Building Codes on Residential Electricity Consumption," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1).
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19123. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.