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Is There an Energy Paradox in Fuel Economy? A Note on the Role of Consumer Heterogeneity and Sorting Bias

  • Bento, Antonio M.
  • Li, Shanjun

    ()

    (Resources for the Future)

  • Roth, Kevin

Previous literature finds that consumers tend to undervalue discounted future energy costs in their purchase decisions for energy-using durables. We argue that this finding could result from ignoring consumer heterogeneity in empirical analyses as opposed to true undervaluation. In the context of automobile demand, we show that, if not accounted for, consumer heterogeneity could lead to sorting, which in turn biases toward zero the estimate of marginal willingness to pay for discounted future fuel costs.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-10-56.

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Date of creation: 24 Nov 2010
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Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-10-56
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.rff.org

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  1. Helfand, Gloria & Wolverton, Ann, 2011. "Evaluating the Consumer Response to Fuel Economy: A Review of the Literature," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 5(2), pages 103-146, May.
  2. Steven Berry & Samuel Kortum & Ariel Pakes, 1996. "Environmental Change and Hedonic Cost Functions for Automobiles," NBER Working Papers 5746, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Berry, Steven & Levinsohn, James & Pakes, Ariel, 1995. "Automobile Prices in Market Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(4), pages 841-90, July.
  5. Yatchew, Adonis & Griliches, Zvi, 1985. "Specification Error in Probit Models," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 134-39, February.
  6. Dubin, Jeffrey A & McFadden, Daniel L, 1984. "An Econometric Analysis of Residential Electric Appliance Holdings and Consumption," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 345-62, March.
  7. Jaffe, Adam B. & Stavins, Robert N., 1994. "The energy paradox and the diffusion of conservation technology," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 91-122, May.
  8. Kenneth Train, 2003. "Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation," Online economics textbooks, SUNY-Oswego, Department of Economics, number emetr2, March.
  9. Lee, Lung-Fei, 1982. "Specification error in multinomial logit models : Analysis of the omitted variable bias," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 197-209, November.
  10. Patrick Bajari & C. Lanier Benkard, 2005. "Demand Estimation with Heterogeneous Consumers and Unobserved Product Characteristics: A Hedonic Approach," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1239-1276, December.
  11. Henry Ruderman & Mark D. Levine & James E. McMahon, 1987. "The Behavior of the Market for Energy Efficiency in Residential Appliances Including Heating and Cooling Equipment," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 101-124.
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