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  • 2015-2019  (26)
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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: Many countries have adopted policies designed to reduce CO2 emissions from road vehicles. Taxes linked to the CO2 emissions rate or the fuel economy of a vehicle (which is inversely related to its CO2 emissions rate) are examples of such policies. These taxes are usually imposed on new vehicles, and previous evaluations have estimated the increases in the shares or sales of new and fuel-efficient vehicles associated with such taxes. In contrast, we ask whether taxes on new cars that penalize high emitters induce changes in the retirement of used and inefficient vehicles. We exploit natural experiment conditions in Switzerland to analyze the impact of two different “bonus”/“malus” schemes implemented at the cantonal level. In both schemes, the bonus rewards new efficient vehicles. The malus is retroactive in canton Obwalden, in the sense that it is charged on both new and existing high-emitting cars, but it is only applied prospectively to new cars in Geneva. We use a difference-in-difference design within a survival analysis setting. We find that a bonus/malus accelerates the retirement of existing high-emitting vehicles in Obwalden, shortening the expected lifetime of the three most popular make-models by 7 to 11 months. The effect is the opposite in Geneva, where we estimate that the expected lifetime of these three popular models is extended by 5 to 8 months. These findings have important implications about the desirability of bonus/malus schemes and on their design, as well as on old car scrappage programs.
    Keywords: L62 ; Q4 ; Q5 ; ddc:330 ; Vehicle retirement ; Emissions-based taxes ; bonus/malus ; difference-in-difference ; survival analysis ; Switzerland ; Kraftfahrzeug ; Technische Effizienz ; Nachfrage ; Ökosteuer ; Anreiz ; Steuerwirkung ; Konsumentenverhalten ; Statistische Bestandsanalyse ; Obwalden ; Genf ; Schweiz
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 2
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    Zurich: ETH Zurich, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: Ambient air pollution is the environmental factor with the greatest impact on human health. Several epidemiological studies provide evidence for an association between ambient air pollution and human health. However, the recent economic literature has challenged the identification strategy used in these studies. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussion by investigating the association between ambient air pollution and morbidity using hospital admission data from Switzerland. Our identification strategy rests on the construction of geographically explicit pollution measures derived from a dispersion model that replicates atmospheric conditions and accounts for several emission sources. The reduced form estimates account for location and time fixed effects and show that ambient air pollution is strongly correlated with hospital admissions. In particular, we find that SO2 and NO2 are positively associated with admission rates for coronary artery and cerebrovascular diseases. As a robustness check, we adopt instrumental variable methods to account for the possible endogeneity of pollution measures. These results may contribute to a more accurate evaluation of future environmental policies aiming at a reduction of ambient air pollution exposure.
    Keywords: I10 ; Q51 ; Q53 ; ddc:330 ; Ambient air pollution ; dispersion model ; hospital admissions ; count panel data
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: There is evidence that many individuals make sub-optimal investment decisions when the benefits and costs associated with that decision are distributed over time. One example is the decision to adopt new electrical appliances, with the benefits of choosing a more energy efficient device materializing only in the future. This paper analyses the impact of the level of an individual’s energy-related investment literacy on the adoption of energy-efficient appliances. Moreover, the empirical analysis explores the impact of decision support tools such as educational slides on the probability that individuals identify the appliance with the lowest lifetime cost, which is ideally also the most energy-efficient appliance. To test the influence of these decision support tools, we developed an online randomized controlled trial and implemented it on two independently chosen samples of the Swiss population. One treatment offers a short education program on how to calculate the lifetime cost of an appliance – via a set of information slides. The second intervention provides access to an online calculator that supports the investment decision-making of the individual. Results across the two samples are encouraging. We find that i) pre-treatment energy and investment literacy positively impact on the probability of identifying the appliance with the lowest lifetime cost; ii) the reinforcement of energy-related investment literacy increases the rate at which individuals identify the appliance with the lowest lifetime cost; and iii) while both interventions are effective in increasing the chances that an appliance with the lower lifetime cost is chosen, the online calculator turned out to be more effective than the educational program. Public policy implications are discussed.
    Keywords: D12 ; D80 ; Q41 ; Q48 ; ddc:330 ; energy-efficient appliances ; energy-related investment literacy ; appliance choice ; bounded rationality ; educational programs ; online tool
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: This paper estimates the level of transient and persistent efficiency in the use of electricity in Swiss households using the generalized true random effects model (GTREM). A panel dataset of 1, 994 Swiss households from 2010 to 2014 collected via a household survey is used to estimate an electricity demand frontier function. We further investigate whether energy and investment literacy have an influence on the household electricity consumption. The results show significant inefficiencies in the use of electricity among Swiss households, both transient (11%) and persistent (22%). We note that the high persistent inefficiency is indicative of structural problems faced by households and systematic behavioral shortcomings in residential electricity consumption. These results indicate a considerable potential for electricity savings and thus reaching the reduction targets defined by the Swiss federal council as part of the Energy Strategy 2050, wherein end-use efficiency improvement is one of the main pillars. The results support a positive role of energy and, in particular, investment literacy in reducing household electricity consumption. Policies targeting an improvement of these attributes could help to improve efficiency in the use of energy within households.
    Keywords: D12 ; D13 ; D80 ; Q41 ; Q48 ; ddc:330 ; Stochastic frontier analysis ; Transient and persistent efficiency ; Energy literacy ; Investment literacy ; Energy saving behaviour ; Residential electricity demand ; Household data
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
    Type: doc-type:workingPaper
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  • 5
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    Zurich: ETH Zurich, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: Does culture affect consumer preferences for fuel efficient vehicles? Switzerland's citizens share all major institutions but belong to multiple population groups which differ by culture or language across distinct geographical locations. This unique setting allows separation of the effect of culture on institutions and on individual consumer preferences. We set up a spatial fuzzy Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD) at the internal French/German language border to estimate the effect of culture on preferences for energy efficient design and control for local policies. A within-country analysis on the municipality level provides a natural experiment because institutions relevant to economic development are shared by the whole population, whereas culture is heterogeneous. Our results indicate that in French speaking regions of Switzerland the share of energy efficient vehicles is 5.5 percentage points higher than in German speaking regions. In addition, we find that popular votes on environmental issues receive a significantly higher share of approval in the French speaking regions, indicating that they place a higher value on the environment.
    Keywords: Q2 ; Q4 ; R4 ; Z10 ; ddc:330 ; Culture ; Transportation ; Energy Efficiency ; Spatial RDD ; Car Choice
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: It is an ongoing debate how to increase the adoption of energy-efficient light bulbs and household appliances in the presence of the so-called ’energy efficiency gap’. One measure to support consumers’ decision-making towards the purchase of more efficient appliances is the display of energy-related information in the form of energy-efficiency labels on electric consumer products. Another measure is to educate the consumers in order to increase their level of energy and investment literacy. Thus, two questions arise when it comes to the display of energy-related information on appliances: (1) What kind of information should be displayed to enable consumers to make rational and efficient choices? (2) What abilities and prior knowledge do consumers need to have to be able to process this information? In this paper, using a series of recursive bivariate probit models and three samples of 583, 877 and 1, 375 Swiss households from three major Swiss urban areas, we show how displaying information on the future energy consumption of electrical appliances in monetary terms, i.e. as an estimate of yearly energy cost (CHF) rather than in physical units (kWh), increases the probability that an individual performs an investment analysis and hence chooses the most (cost-)efficient appliance. In addition, our econometric results suggest that individuals with a higher level of energy and, in particular, investment literacy are more likely to perform an optimization rather than relying on a decision-making heuristic and are more likely to identify the most (cost-)efficient appliance.
    Keywords: D12 ; D80 ; Q41 ; Q48 ; ddc:330 ; energy-efficiency ; bounded rationality ; energy-using durables ; information ; energy label ; energy literacy ; choice experiment ; Energieeinsparung ; Lampe ; Umweltzeichen ; Konsumentenverhalten ; Begrenzte Rationalität ; Probit-Modell ; Ballungsraum ; Schweiz
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: In this paper we use panel data from a survey conducted on 30 Swiss utilities to estimate the impact of demand-side management (DSM) activities on residential electricity demand using DSM spending and an energy efficiency score. Using the variation in DSM activities within utilities and across utilities over time we identify the impact of these programs and find that their presence reduce per customer residential electricity consumption by around 5%. If we consider monetary spending, the effect of a 10% increase in DSM spending causes around a 0.14% reduction in per customer residential electricity consumption. The cost of saving a kilowatt hour is around CHF 0.04 while the average cost of producing and distributing electricity in Switzerland is around CHF 0.18 per kilowatt hour. We conclude that current DSM practices in Switzerland have a statistically significant effect on reducing the demand for residential electricity.
    Keywords: C33 ; C36 ; Q41 ; Q48 ; ddc:330 ; Residential electricity ; demand-side management ; energy efficiency score ; difference-in-differences ; Switzerland ; Lastmanagement ; Elektrizitätswirtschaft ; Elektrizität ; Nachfrage ; Energieeinsparung ; Energiekonsum ; Schweiz
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: This note makes the point that, if a Bivariate Probit (BP) model is estimated on data arising from a Recursive Bivariate Probit (RBP) process, the resulting BP correlation parameter is a weighted average of the RBP correlation parameter and the parameter associated to the endogenous binary variable. Two corollaries follow this proposition: i) a zero correlation parameter in a BP model, usually interpreted as evidence of independence between the binary variables under study, may actually mask the presence of a RBP process; and ii) the interpretation of the correlation parameter in the RBP is not the same as in the BP —i.e. the RBP correlation parameter does not necessarily reflect the correlation between the binary variables under study.
    Keywords: C25 ; ddc:330 ; Bivariate probit ; Recursive Bivariate probit ; Tetrachoric correlation ; Monte Carlo simulation
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 9
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    Zurich: ETH Zurich, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: Dynamic partial adjustment models of residential electricity demand account for the fact that households may not adjust electricity consumption immediately in response to changes in prices, income, and other relevant factors, because of behavioral habits or adjustment costs for the capital stock of appliances. However, forward-looking behavior is generally neglected. Expectations about future prices or consumption may have an impact on current decisions. In this paper we propose rational habit models for residential electricity demand and apply them to a panel of 48 US states between 1995 and 2011. We estimate lead consumption models using fixed effects, instrumental variables, and the GMM Blundell-Bond estimator. We find that expectations about future consumption significantly influence current consumption decisions, which suggests that households behave rationally when making electricity consumption decisions. This novel approach may improve our understanding of the dynamics of residential electricity demand and the evaluation of the effects of energy policies.
    Keywords: D12 ; D84 ; D99 ; Q41 ; Q47 ; Q50 ; ddc:330 ; Residential electricity ; Partial adjustment models ; Dynamic panel data models ; Rational habits ; Elektrizität ; Nachfrage ; Rationalität ; Energiekonsum ; Dynamische Wirtschaftstheorie ; Panel ; USA
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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  • 10
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    Zurich: ETH Zurich, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research
    Publication Date: 2017-11-29
    Description: In order to mitigate climate change, several countries around the world have introduced or are planning a CO2 tax on energy consumption. The effectiveness of such a tax depends on the level of the short- and long-run price elasticity. Moreover, acceptance of a CO2 tax by a society depends on both the distributional effects of such a tax among households and its spatial effects among regions. In this paper, the regional impact of a hypothetical CO2 tax on gasoline consumption in Switzerland is analysed by estimating a demand function for gasoline using panel data from 547 Swiss municipalities from 2001 to 2008. Gasoline sales were collected from the five largest gasoline companies operating in Switzerland, covering about 60% of overall sales. Swiss municipalities are relatively small units, and car ownership and use in one municipality is thought to influence gasoline sales in the neighbouring ones. Accordingly, the method used in the model also accounts for spatial correlation in the consumption of gasoline. Overall, our spatial econometric analysis shows that the tax burden of a CO2 tax will be higher in rural areas than in urban areas.
    Keywords: D ; D2 ; Q ; Q4 ; R2 ; ddc:330 ; gasoline demand ; aggregate panel data ; spatial economic effect ; spatial econometrics
    Repository Name: EconStor: OA server of the German National Library of Economics - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics
    Language: English
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