Evaluating the Slow Adoption of Energy Efficient Investments: Are Renters Less Likely to Have Energy Efficient Appliances?

Lucas W. Davis

NBER Working Paper No. 16114
Issued in June 2010
NBER Program(s):   EEE

While public discussion of HR 2454 (the “Waxman Markey” bill) has focused on the cap-andtrade program that would be established for carbon emissions, the bill also includes provisions that would tighten energy efficiency standards for consumer appliances. Supporters argue that appliance standards help address a number of market failures. In particular, many studies have pointed out that landlords may buy cheap inefficient appliances when their tenants pay the utility bill. Although this landlord-tenant problem has been widely discussed in the literature, there is little empirical evidence on the magnitude of the distortion. This paper compares appliance ownership patterns between homeowners and renters using household-level data from the Residential Energy Consumption Survey. The results show that, controlling for household income and other household characteristics, renters are significantly less likely to have energy efficient refrigerators, clothes washers and dishwashers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w16114

Published: Lucas W. Davis, 2010. "Evaluating the Slow Adoption of Energy Efficient Investments: Are Renters Less Likely to Have Energy Efficient Appliances?," NBER Chapters, in: The Design and Implementation of U.S. Climate Policy National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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