Rational Inattention and Energy Efficiency
If time and effort are required to accurately ascertain the lifetime value of energy efficiency for a durable good, consumers might rationally ignore energy efficiency. This paper argues that such inattention may be rational in the market for automobiles and home appliances. To do so, it develops a heuristic model of a consumer's decision problem when purchasing an energy consuming durable good in which uncertainty about each good's energy efficiency can be resolved via costly effort. The model indicates under what conditions the consumer will be less likely to undertake this effort. The empirical portion of the paper argues that energy efficiency is often not pivotal to choice. This, along with a simulation of the automobile market, suggests that returns to paying attention to energy may be modest, and analysis of the information readily available to consumers suggests that the costs of being fully informed may be substantial. The paper discusses the implications of rational inattention for public policy and for empirical research on the energy paradox.
|Date of creation:||Oct 2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Filip Matêjka & Alisdair McKay, 2015.
"Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 105(1), pages 272-98, January.
- Alisdair McKay & Filip Matejka, 2011. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," 2011 Meeting Papers 535, Society for Economic Dynamics.
- Alisdair McKay & Filip Matejka, 2011. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2011-026, Boston University - Department of Economics.
- Filip Matejka & Alisdair McKay, 2011. "Rational Inattention to Discrete Choices: A New Foundation for the Multinomial Logit Model," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp442, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
- James M. Sallee & Joel Slemrod, 2010.
"Car Notches: Strategic Automaker Responses to Fuel Economy Policy,"
NBER Working Papers
16604, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Sallee, James M. & Slemrod, Joel, 2012. "Car notches: Strategic automaker responses to fuel economy policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(11), pages 981-999.
- Steven T. Berry, 1994. "Estimating Discrete-Choice Models of Product Differentiation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 25(2), pages 242-262, Summer.
- Heutel, Garth, 2010.
"Optimal Policy Instruments for Externality-Producing Durable Goods under Time Inconsistency,"
10-5, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Department of Economics.
- Garth Heutel, 2011. "Optimal Policy Instruments for Externality-Producing Durable Goods Under Time Inconsistency," NBER Working Papers 17083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- 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 189-219, May.
- 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.
- Pedro Bordalo & Nicola Gennaioli & Andrei Shleifer, 2013.
"Competition for Attention,"
76811, Harvard University OpenScholar.
- Soren T. Anderson & James M. Sallee, 2011.
"Using Loopholes to Reveal the Marginal Cost of Regulation: The Case of Fuel-Economy Standards,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 101(4), pages 1375-1409, June.
- Soren T. Anderson & James M. Sallee, 2009. "Using Loopholes to Reveal the Marginal Cost of Regulation: The Case of Fuel-Economy Standards," Working Papers 0901, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
- Kenneth E. Train & Clifford Winston, 2007. "Vehicle Choice Behavior And The Declining Market Share Of U.S. Automakers," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 48(4), pages 1469-1496, November.
- Greene, David L., 2011. "Uncertainty, loss aversion, and markets for energy efficiency," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 608-616, July.
- Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou, 1998. "The Effects of the Corporate Average Fuel Efficiency Standards in the US," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 46(1), pages 1-33, March.
- Bento, Antonio M. & Li, Shanjun & Roth, Kevin, 2010.
"Is There an Energy Paradox in Fuel Economy? A Note on the Role of Consumer Heterogeneity and Sorting Bias,"
dp-10-56, Resources For the Future.
- Bento, Antonio M. & Li, Shanjun & Roth, Kevin, 2012. "Is there an energy paradox in fuel economy? A note on the role of consumer heterogeneity and sorting bias," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 44-48.
- Shanjun Li & Christopher Timmins & Roger H. von Haefen, 2009.
"How Do Gasoline Prices Affect Fleet Fuel Economy?,"
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy,
American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 113-37, August.
- Moorthy, Sridhar & Ratchford, Brian T & Talukdar, Debabrata, 1997. " Consumer Information Search Revisited: Theory and Empirical Analysis," Journal of Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 263-77, March.
- Jerry A. Hausman, 1979. "Individual Discount Rates and the Purchase and Utilization of Energy-Using Durables," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 10(1), pages 33-54, Spring.
- Austin, David & Dinan, Terry, 2005. "Clearing the air: The costs and consequences of higher CAFE standards and increased gasoline taxes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 562-582, November.
- Xavier Gabaix, 2011. "A Sparsity-Based Model of Bounded Rationality," NBER Working Papers 16911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Adam Copeland & Wendy Dunn & George Hall, 2011. "Inventories and the automobile market," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 42(1), pages 121-149, 03.
- Meghan R. Busse & Christopher R. Knittel & Florian Zettelmeyer, 2013. "Are Consumers Myopic? Evidence from New and Used Car Purchases," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 220-56, February.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19545. 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 references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.