Sébastien Houde

2222 Symons Hall
University of Maryland
Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
College Park, MD 20742

E-Mail: EmailAddress: hidden: you can email any NBER-related person as first underscore last at nber dot org

NBER Working Papers and Publications

December 2017The Efficiency Consequences of Heterogeneous Behavioral Responses to Energy Fiscal Policies
with Joseph E. Aldy: w24103
The behavioral responses to taxes and subsidies are often subject to various behavioral biases and transaction costs—what we define as “microfrictions.” We develop a theoretical framework to show how these microfrictions—and their heterogeneity across the population and policy instruments—affect the design of Pigouvian policies. Standard Pigouvian pricing still holds with transaction costs, but requires adjustment with behavioral biases. We use transaction-level data from the US appliance market to estimate the heterogeneous behavioral responses to an array of energy fiscal policies and to quantify microfrictions. We then assess optimal fiscal policies and find that it is rarely optimal to couple a Pigouvian tax on energy with an investment subsidy in this context. We also find that energy...
October 2014Belt and Suspenders and More: The Incremental Impact of Energy Efficiency Subsidies in the Presence of Existing Policy Instruments
with Joseph E. Aldy: w20541
The effectiveness of investment subsidies depends on the existing array of regulatory and information mandates, especially in the energy efficiency space. Some consumers respond to information disclosure by purchasing energy-efficient durables (and thus may increase the inframarginal take-up of a subsequent subsidy), while other consumers may locate at the lower bound of a minimum efficiency standard (and a given subsidy may be insufficient to change their investment toward a more energy-efficient option). We investigate the incremental impact of energy efficiency rebates in the context of regulatory and information mandates by evaluating the State Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program (SEEARP) implemented through the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The design of the progr...
March 2014How Consumers Respond to Environmental Certification and the Value of Energy Information
The ENERGY STAR certification is a voluntary labeling that favors the adoption of energy efficient products. In the US appliance market, the label is a coarse summary of otherwise readily accessible information. Using micro-data of the US refrigerator market, I develop a structural demand model and find that consumers respond to certification in different ways. Some consumers have a large willingness to pay for the label, well beyond the energy savings associated with certified products; others appear to pay attention to electricity costs, but not to the certification, and still others appear to be insensitive to both electricity costs and ENERGY STAR. The findings suggest that the certification acts as a substitute for more accurate, but complex energy information. Using the structural m...
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