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The Surprising Pass-Through of Solar Subsidies

Listed author(s):
  • Jacquelyn Pless
  • Arthur A. van Benthem
Registered author(s):

    We estimate the pass-through of solar energy subsidies to solar system prices. Rich micro-level transaction and subsidy data from California indicate that pass-through is remarkably high and differs substantially for consumers who buy versus lease solar systems. Buyers capture nearly the full subsidy, while there is more-than-complete pass-through to lessees. We formalize pass-through over-shifting as an under-utilized test for market power that can also be applied in other contexts. We rule out alternative explanations for over-shifting and conclude that our estimates provide evidence for imperfectly competitive solar markets. Our findings have implications for the distributional effects of energy subsidies.

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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23260.

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    Date of creation: Mar 2017
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23260
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    1. Sharat Ganapati & Joseph S. Shapiro & Reed Walker, 2016. "Energy Prices, Pass-Through, and Incidence in U.S. Manufacturing," Working Papers 16-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Wojciech Kopczuk & Justin Marion & Erich Muehlegger & Joel Slemrod, 2013. "Do the Laws of Tax Incidence Hold? Point of Collection and the Pass-through of State Diesel Taxes," NBER Working Papers 19410, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Besley, Timothy J. & Rosen, Harvey S., 1999. "Sales Taxes and Prices: An Empirical Analysis," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 52(2), pages 157-178, June.
    4. Seade, J, 1985. "Profitable Cost Increases and the Shifting of Taxation : Equilibrium Response of Markets in Oligopoly," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 260, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
    5. Barzel, Yoram, 1976. "An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1177-1197, December.
    6. Arie Beresteanu & Shanjun Li, 2011. "Gasoline Prices, Government Support, And The Demand For Hybrid Vehicles In The United States," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 52(1), pages 161-182, 02.
    7. Robert A. Ritz, 2015. "The Simple Economics of Asymmetric Cost Pass-Through," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1515, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
    8. 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.
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