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Title: Do Energy Efficiency Standards Improve Quality? Evidence from a Revealed Preference Approach

Minimum energy efficiency standards have occupied a central role in U.S. energy policy for more than three decades, but little is known about their welfare effects. In this paper, we employ a revealed preference approach to quantify the impact of past revisions in energy efficiency standards on product quality. The micro-foundation of our approach is a discrete choice model that allows us to compute a price-adjusted index of vertical quality. Focusing on the appliance market, we show that several standard revisions during the period 2001-2011 have led to an increase in quality. We also show that these standards have had a modest effect on prices, and in some cases they even led to decreases in prices. For revision events where overall quality increases and prices decrease, the consumer welfare effect of tightening the standards is unambiguously positive. Finally, we show that after controlling for the effect of improvement in energy efficiency, standards have induced an expansion of quality in the non-energy dimension. We discuss how imperfect competition can rationalize these results.
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States)
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)
Country of Publication:
United States
32 ENERGY CONSERVATION, CONSUMPTION, AND UTILIZATION; minimum standards; energy star; energy efficiency; product differentiation