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Are Consumers Poorly-Informed about Fuel Economy? Evidence from Two Experiments

Listed author(s):
  • Hunt Allcott
  • Christopher Knittel

It has long been argued that people are poorly-informed about and inattentive to fuel economy when buying cars, and that this causes us to buy low-fuel economy vehicles despite our own best interest. We test this assertion by running two experiments providing fuel economy information to people shopping for new vehicles. We find zero statistical or economic effect of information on average fuel economy of vehicles purchased. In the context of a simple optimal policy model, the estimates suggest that imperfect information and inattention are not valid as significant justifications for fuel economy standards at current or planned levels.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23076.

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Date of creation: Jan 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23076
Note: PE EEE
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  1. Hainmueller, Jens, 2012. "Entropy Balancing for Causal Effects: A Multivariate Reweighting Method to Produce Balanced Samples in Observational Studies," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 25-46, December.
  2. Pascaline Dupas, 2011. "Do Teenagers Respond to HIV Risk Information? Evidence from a Field Experiment in Kenya," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 1-34, January.
  3. Hunt Allcott, 2013. "The Welfare Effects of Misperceived Product Costs: Data and Calibrations from the Automobile Market," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(3), pages 30-66, August.
  4. ITO Koichiro & James M. SALLEE, 2014. "The Economics of Attribute-Based Regulation: Theory and evidence from fuel-economy standards," Discussion papers 14057, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
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  6. Lucas W. Davis & Gilbert E. Metcalf, 2014. "Does Better Information Lead to Better Choices? Evidence from Energy-Efficiency Labels," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0788, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  7. 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 220-256, February.
  8. Jin, Ginger Zhe & Sorensen, Alan T., 2006. "Information and consumer choice: The value of publicized health plan ratings," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 248-275, March.
  9. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
  10. Katrina Jessoe & David Rapson, 2015. "Commercial and Industrial Demand Response Under Mandatory Time-of-Use Electricity Pricing," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 397-421, 09.
  11. Saurabh Bhargava & Dayanand Manoli, 2015. "Psychological Frictions and the Incomplete Take-Up of Social Benefits: Evidence from an IRS Field Experiment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(11), pages 3489-3529, November.
  12. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The role of information and social interactions in retirement plan decisions: Evidence from a randomized experiment," Framed Field Experiments 00141, The Field Experiments Website.
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