IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Asymmetric Incentives in Subsidies: Evidence from a Large-Scale Electricity Rebate Program

  • Koichiro Ito

Many countries use substantial public funds to subsidize reductions in negative externalities. However, such subsidies create asymmetric incentives because increases in externalities remain unpriced. This paper examines implications of such asymmetric subsidy incentives by using a regression discontinuity design in California's electricity rebate program that provided a financial reward for energy conservation. Using household-level panel data from administrative records, I find precisely-estimated zero causal effects in coastal areas. In contrast, the incentive produced a 5% consumption reduction in inland areas. Income and climate conditions significantly drive the heterogeneity. Asymmetric subsidy structures weaken incentives because consumers far from the rebate target show little response. The overall program cost is 17.5 cents per kWh reduction and $390 per ton of carbon dioxide reduction, which is unlikely to be cost-effective for a reasonable range of the social marginal cost of electricity.

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: http://www.nber.org/papers/w19485.pdf
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19485.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Publication status: published as Koichiro Ito, 2015. "Asymmetric Incentives in Subsidies: Evidence from a Large-Scale Electricity Rebate Program," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(3), pages 209-37, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19485
Note: EEE IO PE
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: http://www.nber.org
Email:


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. Koichiro Ito, 2014. "Do Consumers Respond to Marginal or Average Price? Evidence from Nonlinear Electricity Pricing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(2), pages 537-563, February.
  2. Emmanuel Saez, 1999. "Do Taxpayers Bunch at Kink Points?," NBER Working Papers 7366, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David S. Lee & Thomas Lemieux, 2009. "Regression Discontinuity Designs in Economics," NBER Working Papers 14723, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. S. Borenstein, 2013. "Effective and Equitable Adoption of Opt-In Residential Dynamic Electricity Pricing," Review of Industrial Organization, Springer;The Industrial Organization Society, vol. 42(2), pages 127-160, March.
  5. Esther Duflo & Michael Greenstone & Nicholas Ryan, 2013. "Truth-telling by Third-party Auditors and the Response of Polluting Firms: Experimental Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 128(4), pages 1499-1545.
  6. Paul J. Ferraro & Juan Jose Miranda & Michael K. Price, 2011. "The Persistence of Treatment Effects with Norm-Based Policy Instruments: Evidence from a Randomized Environmental Policy Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 318-322, May.
  7. Katrina Jessoe & David Rapson, 2012. "Knowledge is (Less) Power: Experimental Evidence from Residential Energy Use," NBER Working Papers 18344, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2008. "What changes energy consumption? Prices and public pressures," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 39(3), pages 636-663.
  9. Paul L. Joskow, 2001. "California's Electricity Crisis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 17(3), pages 365-388.
  10. C. Kirabo Jackson, 2010. "Do Students Benefit from Attending Better Schools? Evidence from Rule-based Student Assignments in Trinidad and Tobago," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(549), pages 1399-1429, December.
  11. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi, 2010. "The Effects of Fiscal Stimulus: Evidence from the 2009 'Cash for Clunkers' Program," NBER Working Papers 16351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Technical Working Papers 0337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Michael L. Anderson, 2014. "Subways, Strikes, and Slowdowns: The Impacts of Public Transit on Traffic Congestion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(9), pages 2763-2796, September.
  14. Boomhower, Judson & Davis, Lucas W., 2014. "A credible approach for measuring inframarginal participation in energy efficiency programs," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 67-79.
  15. James M. Sallee, 2011. "The Surprising Incidence of Tax Credits for the Toyota Prius," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(2), pages 189219-1892, May.
  16. Charles Goldman & Galen Barbose & Joseph Eto, 2002. "California Customer Load Reductions during the Electricity Crisis: Did They Help to Keep the Lights On?," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 113-142, June.
  17. Ahmad Faruqui & Sanem Sergici, 2010. "Household response to dynamic pricing of electricity: a survey of 15 experiments," Journal of Regulatory Economics, Springer, vol. 38(2), pages 193-225, October.
  18. Severin Borenstein, 2012. "The Redistributional Impact of Nonlinear Electricity Pricing," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 4(3), pages 5690-5690, August.
  19. Frank A. Wolak, 2011. "Do Residential Customers Respond to Hourly Prices? Evidence from a Dynamic Pricing Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 83-87, May.
  20. Gallagher, Kelly Sims & Muehlegger, Erich, 2011. "Giving green to get green? Incentives and consumer adoption of hybrid vehicle technology," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-15, January.
  21. Peter C. Reiss & Matthew W. White, 2005. "Household Electricity Demand, Revisited," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(3), pages 853-883.
  22. Severin Borenstein, 2002. "The Trouble With Electricity Markets: Understanding California's Restructuring Disaster," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 191-211, Winter.
  23. Frandsen, Brigham R. & Frölich, Markus & Melly, Blaise, 2012. "Quantile treatment effects in the regression discontinuity design," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 168(2), pages 382-395.
  24. Joshua Angrist & Miikka Rokkanen, 2012. "Wanna Get Away? RD Identification Away from the Cutoff," NBER Working Papers 18662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Paul L. Joskow & Donald B. Marron, 1992. "What Does a Negawatt Really Cost? Evidence from Utility Conservation Programs," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 41-74.
  26. 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.
  27. Severin Borenstein & James B. Bushnell & Frank A. Wolak, 2002. "Measuring Market Inefficiencies in California's Restructured Wholesale Electricity Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(5), pages 1376-1405, December.
  28. Michael Greenstone & Elizabeth Kopits & Ann Wolverton, 2011. "Estimating the Social Cost of Carbon for Use in U.S. Federal Rulemakings: A Summary and Interpretation," Working Papers 1106, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  29. 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.
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:19485. 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.