Public Goods Provision in the Presence of Heterogeneous Green Preferences

Mark Jacobsen, Jacob LaRiviere, Michael Price

NBER Working Paper No. 20266
Issued in June 2014
NBER Program(s):   EEE

We develop a model of the private provision of public goods in a world where agents face convex costs of provision. Consonant with prior empirical evidence, we introduce preference heterogeneity by allowing a subset of agents to exhibit pro-social behavior that reflects "green" preferences. We use the model to compare different policies to promote private provision of public goods such as environmental quality or energy conservation. Counter to the standard result, we find that technology standards are frequently preferred to price-based instruments. Extending the model to allow for both benefit and cost heterogeneity, we find that policy choice depends on the correlation between the two forms of heterogeneity.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20266

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