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The Lightbulb Paradox: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments
RFF Academic Seminar
Presenter
Hunt Allcott,
Associate Professor, Department of Economics, New York University
Abstract
It is often suggested that consumers are imperfectly informed about or inattentive to energy costs of durable goods such as cars, air conditioners, and lightbulbs. We study two randomized control experiments that provide information on energy costs and product lifetimes for energy efficient compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) vs. traditional incandescent bulbs. We then propose a general model of consumer bias in choices between energy-using durables, derive sufficient statistics for quantifying the welfare implications of such bias, and evaluate energy efficiency subsidies and standards as second best corrective policies if powerful information disclosure is infeasible. In the context of our theoretical model, the empirical results suggest that moderate CFL subsidies may be optimal, but imperfect information and inattention do not appear to justify a ban on traditional incandescent lightbulbs in the absence of other inefficiencies.
Date
Thursday, April 10, 2014
3:00 - 4:30 p.m. EDT
A light lunch will be provided.
Location
7th Floor Conference Room
All seminars will be in the 7th Floor Conference Room at RFF, 1616 P Street NW unless otherwise noted. Attendance is open, but involves pre-registration no later than two days prior to the event. For questions and to register to an event, please contact Karen Furman at furman@rff.org. Updates to our academic seminars schedule will be posted at www.rff.org/academicseminarseries.
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