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How disagreement about social costs leads to inefficient energy productivity investment

  • Voß, Achim

Public energy productivity investment influences the amount of future energy consumption. If a present government expects its successor to value the social costs of fuel usage differently, this adds a strategic component to its investment considerations. We analyze this governmental time-inconsistency situation as a sequential game. In particular, we show how the expectation of a more conservative party taking over makes a green government choose an investment level that is ineffcient in that neither of the parties would prefer it to the investment level of a permanent green government. Under some circumstances, the opposition would even prefer the government to stay in power for sure: The gain of avoiding strategic investment then outweighs the loss of not being able to regulate energy consumption. We also analyze welfare gains of binding agreements.

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Paper provided by Center of Applied Economic Research Münster (CAWM), University of Münster in its series CAWM Discussion Papers with number 62.

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Date of creation: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:cawmdp:62
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  1. A. Greening, Lorna & Greene, David L. & Difiglio, Carmen, 2000. "Energy efficiency and consumption -- the rebound effect -- a survey," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 28(6-7), pages 389-401, June.
  2. John A. List & Daniel M. Sturm, 2004. "How Elections Matter: Theory and Evidence from Environmental Policy," NBER Working Papers 10609, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steffen Brunner & Christian Flachsland & Robert Marschinski, 2012. "Credible commitment in carbon policy," Climate Policy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 255-271, March.
  4. Aidt, Toke S., 1998. "Political internalization of economic externalities and environmental policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(1), pages 1-16, July.
  5. Sorrell, Steve & Dimitropoulos, John, 2008. "The rebound effect: Microeconomic definitions, limitations and extensions," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(3), pages 636-649, April.
  6. Brandt, Urs Steiner, 2004. "Unilateral actions, the case of international environmental problems," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 373-391, December.
  7. Harty D. Saunders, 1992. "The Khazzoom-Brookes Postulate and Neoclassical Growth," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 4), pages 131-148.
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