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Does the Provision of Free Technical Information Really Influence Firm Behavior?


  • Morgenstern, Richard

    () (Resources for the Future)


Significant environmental benefits are often associated with the rapid diffusion of new energy-saving technologies. Over the past decade, the federal government, as well as electric and gas utilities, have begun to provide free technical information to potential buyers to stimulate private investment in certain technologies, particularly for retrofitting existing buildings. Yet it has not been demonstrated that this provision of technical information can truly accelerate the rate of technology diffusion. This study develops a model of firm behavior that incorporates multiple factors in the decision to retrofit high efficiency lighting technologies. Technology retrofit and the acceptance of technical information are modeled as jointly determined dichotomous variables, and their determinants are estimated using a bivariate probit specification. The principal conclusion is that information programs make a significant contribution to the diffusion of high efficiency lighting in commercial office buildings, although these programs are less important than basic price signals.

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  • Morgenstern, Richard, 1996. "Does the Provision of Free Technical Information Really Influence Firm Behavior?," Discussion Papers dp-96-16, Resources For the Future.
  • Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-96-16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jaffe Adam B. & Stavins Robert N., 1995. "Dynamic Incentives of Environmental Regulations: The Effects of Alternative Policy Instruments on Technology Diffusion," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 43-63, November.
    2. Ribar, David C, 1994. "Teenage Fertility and High School Completion," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 413-424, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Keith Brouhle & Charles Griffiths & Ann Wolverton, 2007. "Evaluating the Effectiveness of EPA Voluntary Programs: An Examination of the Strategic Goals Program for Metal Finishers," NCEE Working Paper Series 200706, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2007.
    2. Strachan, Neil & Dowlatabadi, Hadi, 2002. "Distributed generation and distribution utilities," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 649-661, June.
    3. Stafford Sarah L, 2006. "Rational or Confused Polluters? Evidence from Hazardous Waste Compliance," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-33, July.
    4. Sarah L. Stafford, 2007. "Should you turn yourself in? The consequences of environmental self-policing," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(2), pages 305-326.
    5. Keith Brouhle & Charles Griffiths & Ann Wolverton, 2004. "The Use of Voluntary Approaches for Environmental Policymaking in the U.S," NCEE Working Paper Series 200405, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2004.
    6. Sarah L. Stafford, 2006. "Should You Turn Yourself In? The Consequences of Environmental Self-Policing," Working Papers 27, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary, revised 08 Sep 2006.
    7. Kounetas, Kostas & Skuras, Dimitris & Tsekouras, Kostas, 2011. "Promoting energy efficiency policies over the information barrier," Information Economics and Policy, Elsevier, vol. 23(1), pages 72-84, March.
    8. Murage, A.W. & Midega, C.A.O. & Pittchar, J.O. & Khan, Zeyaur R., 2013. "Potential uptake determinants of climate-smart push-pull technology in drier agro-ecological zones of eastern Africa," 2013 AAAE Fourth International Conference, September 22-25, 2013, Hammamet, Tunisia 161511, African Association of Agricultural Economists (AAAE).

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