Cash for Coolers
NBER Working Paper No. 18044
This paper examines a large-scale appliance replacement program in Mexico that since 2009 has helped 1.5 million households replace their old refrigerators and air-conditioners with energy-efficient models. Using household-level electric billing records from the population of Mexican residential customers we find that refrigerator replacement reduces electricity consumption by an average of 11 kilowatt hours per month, about a 7% decrease. We find that air conditioning replacement, in contrast, increases electricity consumption by an average of 6 kilowatt hours per month, with larger increases during the summer. To put these results in context we present a simple conceptual framework in which energy-efficient durable goods cost less to operate, so households use them more. This behavioral response, sometimes called the "rebound" effect, is important for air-conditioners, but not important for refrigerators.
Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18044
Published: Cash for Coolers: Evaluating a Large-Scale Appliance Replacement Program in Mexico” (with Alan Fuchs and Paul Gertler), American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, vol. 6, no. 4, November 2014 (pp. 207-38).
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