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Private Provision of Environmental Public Goods: Household Participation in Green-Electricity Programs

  • Matthew J. Kotchen

    (Williams College)

  • Michael R. Moore

    (University of Michigan)

Green-electricity programs provide an opportunity to study private provision of public goods in a field setting. The first part of this paper develops a theoretical framework to analyze household decisions about voluntary participation in green-electricity programs. We consider different participation mechanisms and show how they relate to existing theory on either pure or impure public goods. The models are used to examine the implications of participation mechanisms for the level of public-good provision. The second part of the paper provides an empirical investigation of actual participation decisions in two green- electricity programs: one based on a pure public good and the other based on an impure public good. The data come from original household surveys of participants and nonparticipants in both programs, along with utility data on household electricity consumption. The econometric results are interpreted in the context of the theoretical models and are compared to other studies of privately provided public goods.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Williams College in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2004-07.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, January 2007, v. 53, iss. 1, pp. 1-16.
Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2004-07
Contact details of provider: Postal: Williamstown, MA 01267
Phone: 413 597 2476
Fax: 413 597 4045
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  1. Andreoni, James, 1988. "Privately provided public goods in a large economy: The limits of altruism," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 57-73, February.
  2. Rose, Steven K. & Poe, Gregory L. & Rondeau, Daniel & Schulze, William D. & Clark, Jeremy, 1997. "The Private Provision of Public Goods: Tests of a Provision Point Mechanism for Funding Green Power Programs," Working Papers 127850, Cornell University, Department of Applied Economics and Management.
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  6. Harbaugh, William T., 1998. "What do donations buy?: A model of philanthropy based on prestige and warm glow," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 269-284, February.
  7. Kotchen, Matthew J., 2005. "Impure public goods and the comparative statics of environmentally friendly consumption," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 281-300, March.
  8. Clotfelter, C. T., 2003. "Alumni giving to elite private colleges and universities," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 109-120, April.
  9. Cooper, Philip & Poe, Gregory L. & Bateman, Ian J., 2004. "The structure of motivation for contingent values: a case study of lake water quality improvement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1-2), pages 69-82, September.
  10. Kingma, Bruce Robert, 1989. "An Accurate Measurement of the Crowd-Out Effect, Income Effect, and Price Effect for Charitable Contributions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1197-1207, October.
  11. Cornes, Richard & Sandler, Todd, 1994. "The comparative static properties of the impure public good model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 403-421, July.
  12. Smith, Vincent H. & Kehoe, Michael R. & Cremer, Mary E., 1995. "The private provision of public goods: Altruism and voluntary giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 107-126, September.
  13. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  14. John A. List, 2004. "Young, Selfish and Male: Field evidence of social preferences," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(492), pages 121-149, 01.
  15. Robert G. Ethier & Gregory L. Poe & William D. Schulze & Jeremy Clark, 2000. "Comparison of Hypothetical Phone and Mail Contingent Valuation Responses for Green-Pricing Electricity Programs," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(1), pages 54-67.
  16. Bergstrom, Theodore & Blume, Lawrence & Varian, Hal, 1986. "On the private provision of public goods," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 25-49, February.
  17. Andrew A. Goett & Kathleen Hudson & Kenneth E. Train, 2000. "Customers' Choice Among Retail Energy Suppliers: The Willingness-to-Pay for Service Attributes," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 1-28.
  18. Matthew J. Kotchen, 2003. "Green Markets and Private Provision of Public Goods," Department of Economics Working Papers 2003-05, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  19. Eckel, Catherine C & Grossman, Philip J, 1998. "Are Women Less Selfish Than Men? Evidence from Dictator Experiments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(448), pages 726-35, May.
  20. Kotchen, Matthew J. & Reiling, Stephen D., 2000. "Environmental attitudes, motivations, and contingent valuation of nonuse values: a case study involving endangered species," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 93-107, January.
  21. Catherine Eckel & Philip Grossman, 2000. "Volunteers and Pseudo-Volunteers: The Effect of Recruitment Method in Dictator Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 3(2), pages 107-120, October.
  22. Matthew J. Kotchen & Michael R. Moore, 2004. "Conservation Behavior: From Voluntary Restraint to a Voluntary Price Premium," Department of Economics Working Papers 2004-16, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  23. Gregory Poe & Jeremy Clark & Daniel Rondeau & William Schulze, 2002. "Provision Point Mechanisms and Field Validity Tests of Contingent Valuation," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 23(1), pages 105-131, September.
  24. Roe, Brian & Teisl, Mario F. & Levy, Alan & Russell, Matthew, 2001. "US consumers' willingness to pay for green electricity," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 917-925, September.
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