nep-res New Economics Papers
on Resource Economics
Issue of 2020‒11‒09
five papers chosen by
Maximo Rossi
Universidad de la República

  1. Energy Efficiency, District Heating and Waste Management By Egüez, Alejandro
  2. Leading by example in a public goods experimentwith benefit heterogeneity By Ju, Ying; Kocher, Martin G.
  3. Essays on Energy Efficiency, Environmental Regulation and Labor Demand in Swedish Industry By Amjadi, Golnaz
  4. The Elasticity of Substitution between Clean and Dirty Energy with Technological Bias By Ara Jo
  5. Manufacturing Output and Extreme Temperature: Evidence from Canada By Philippe Kabore; Nicholas Rivers

  1. By: Egüez, Alejandro (Department of Economics, Umeå University)
    Abstract: Paper [I] investigates the energy efficiency of multi-dwelling buildings in Sweden to find out whether the ownership type matters. More specifically, we investigate whether rental apartment buildings are less energy efficient than cooperative apartment buildings and whether public ownership has a negative impact on energy efficiency. A conceptual framework is presented to illustrate that such differences could be explained by the split incentives problem and deviations from profit maximizing interests. The empirical analysis is based on a unique dataset that combines data from energy performance certificates with ownership data on residential units. The results indicate that cooperative apartment buildings are significantly more energy efficient than buildings with rental apartments. The results also indicate that publicly owned buildings have somewhat lower energy performance than privately owned ones. Paper [II] Incomplete information may be one reason why some households do not invest in energy efficiency even though it would benefit them to do so. Energy performance certificates (EPCs) have been promoted to overcome such information shortages. In this paper, we investigate whether EPCs together with mandatory home energy audits make households more likely to invest in energy efficiency. Our study takes advantage of the mandatory nature of the EPCs to avoid the potential selection bias problem that typically applies to studies using voluntary energy audits as the treatment. Our treatment group consists of singlefamily houses in Sweden sold from 2008, i.e., when EPCs became legally required in connection with sales of residential buildings, to 2015; while the control group consists of houses sold between 2002 and 2008, i.e., without an EPC. The results show that there is no statistically significant treatment effect for most of the measures that a household can take to improve the energy performance of their house. The significant treatment effect that we do find concerns a few heating system-related measures. Paper [III] The price of district heating in Sweden is unregulated and differs substantially among different networks. This paper investigates if the price variation can partly be explained by ownership status, i.e., whether the network companies are privately- or municipally-owned. The empirical analysis is based on data on district heating prices, ownership status, and network characteristics for the period 2012-2017. The results show that prices are higher in privatelyowned district heating networks than in municipally-owned networks, especially in the fixed component of the price. It is argued that municipal and private companies’ divergent objectives may be part of the explanation for these differences. Finally, district heating prices are positively correlated with the market prices for heat pumps, regardless of ownership, which suggests a general price-setting strategy based on the price of substitutes. Paper [IV] assesses whether and to what extent income and the stringency and enforcement (S&E) of environmental regulation influence compliance with the EU Waste Hierarchy (EWH), i.e., how EU member states treat waste. The EWH prioritizes waste prevention and re-use over recycling, which is ranked above waste to energy (WtE), while incineration and landfilling are the least preferred options. Biennial panel data for the period 2010–2016 is used to create a compliance index based on the waste treatment alternatives in the EWH. The waste (excluding major mineral waste) of 26 European Union countries is examined. This study is the first of its kind to regress an EWH compliance index on income, the stringency and enforcement of environmental regulation, and other variables that are also expected to affect the relative benefits and costs of waste treatment, such as population density, heating demand, and electricity prices. The shares of landfilling, incineration, WtE, and recycling are also modeled to capture the effect of these variables in the waste treatment mix. The stringency and enforcement of environmental regulation are found to have a positive effect on compliance with the EWH, which has increased over time.
    Keywords: energy efficiency; energy performance certificates; multi-dwelling; buildings; ownership; principal-agent; public versus private management; split incentives; home energy audits; quasi-natural experimental design; incomplete information; investment decision; energy efficiency gap; policy evaluation; district heating prices; public versus private; natural monopoly; two-part tariff; EU waste hierarchy; waste treatment ladders; income; policy stringency; policy enforcement
    JEL: D42 D83 L11 L33 L43 L95 O44 Q41 Q48 Q53 R11
    Date: 2020–10–23
  2. By: Ju, Ying (University of Munich, Munich, Germany); Kocher, Martin G. (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna, Department of Economics, University of Vienna, Austria, University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
    Abstract: Social dilemmas such as greenhouse gas emission reduction are often characterized by heterogeneity in benefits from solving the dilemma. How should leadership of group members be organized in such a setting? We implement a laboratory public goods experiment with heterogeneous marginal per capita returns from the public good and leading by example that is either implemented exogenously or by self-selection. Our results suggest that both exogenous and selfselected leadership only have a small effect on contributions to the public good. We do not find significant differences in contributions for exogenous and self-selected leadership. Leaders seem to need additional instruments to be more effective when benefits are heterogeneous.
    Keywords: Public goods experiment; heterogeneous benefits; leading by example
    JEL: C91 D03 D64
    Date: 2020–10
  3. By: Amjadi, Golnaz (Department of Economics, Umeå University)
    Abstract: Paper [I] Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) benefits the climate and matters for energy security. The potential emission and energy savings due to EEI may however not fully materialize due to the rebound effect. In this study, we measure the size of the rebound effect for fuel and electricity within the four most energy intensive sectors in Sweden: Pulp and paper, Basic iron and steel, Chemical, and Mining. We use a detailed firm-level panel data set for 2000–2008 and apply a stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) for measuring the rebound effect. We find that neither fuel nor electricity rebound effects fully offset the potential energy and emission savings. Among the determinants, we find the CO2 intensity and the fuel/electricity shares to be useful indicators for identifying firms with higher or lower rebound effects within each sector. Paper [II] Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) is generally known to be a cost-effective measure for meeting energy, climate and sustainable growth targets. Unfortunately, behavioral responses to such improvements (called energy rebound effects) may reduce the expected savings in emissions and energy from EEI. Hence, the size of this effect should be considered to help set realistic energy and climate targets. Currently there are significant differences in approaches for measuring rebound effect. Here, we used a two-step procedure to measure both short- and long-term energy rebound effects in the Swedish manufacturing industry. In the first step, we used data envelopment analysis (DEA) to obtain energy efficiency scores. In the second step, we estimated energy rebound effects using a dynamic panel regression model. This approach was applied to a firm-level panel dataset covering all 14 sectors in the Swedish manufacturing industry over the period 1997–2008. We showed that, in the short run, partial rebound effects exist within most of manufacturing sectors, meaning that the rebound effect decreased, but did not totally offset, the energy and emission savings expected from EEI. The long-term rebound effect was smaller than the short-term effect, implying that within each sector, energy and emission savings due to EEI are larger in the long run compared to the short run. Paper [III] Energy inefficiency in production implies that the same level of goods and services could be produced using less energy. The potential energy inefficiency of a firm may be linked to long-term structural rigidities in the production process and/or systematic shortcomings in management (persistent inefficiency), or associated with temporary issues like misallocation of resources (transient inefficiency). Eliminating or mitigating different inefficiencies may require different policy measures. Studies measuring industrial energy inefficiency have mostly focused on overall inefficiencies and have paid little attention to distinctions between the types. The aim of this study was to assess whether energy inefficiency is transient and/or persistent in the Swedish manufacturing industry. I used a firm-level panel dataset covering fourteen industrial sectors from 1997–2008 and estimated a stochastic energy demand frontier model. The model included a four-component error term separating persistent and transient inefficiency from unobserved heterogeneity and random noise. I found that both transient and persistent energy inefficiencies exist in most sectors of the Swedish manufacturing industry. Overall, persistent energy inefficiency was larger than transient, but varied considerably in different manufacturing sectors. The results suggest that, generally, energy inefficiencies in the Swedish manufacturing industry were related to structural rigidities connected to technology and/or management practices. Paper [IV] The aim of this paper was to investigate whether the environment and employment compete with each other in Swedish manufacturing industry. The effect of a marginal increase in environmental expenditure and environmental investment costs on sector-level demand for labor (employment) was studied using a detailed firm-level panel dataset for the period 2001–2008. The results showed that the sign and magnitude of the net employment effects ultimately depend on the aggregate sector-level output demand elasticity. If the output demand is inelastic, these costs induce small net improvements in employment, while a more elastic output demand suggests negative, but in most sectors relatively small, net effects on demand for labor. Hence, the results did not generally indicate a substantial trade-off between jobs and the environment. The general policy recommendation that can be drawn from this study is that, in the absence of empirically estimated output demand elasticities, a careful attitude regarding national environmental initiatives for sectors exposed to world market competition should be adopted.
    Keywords: Energy efficiency improvement; rebound effect; stochastic frontier analysis; data envelopment analysis; stochastic energy demand frontier model; persistent and transient energy inefficiency; energy inefficiency; environmental expenditure and environmental investment costs; output demand elasticity
    JEL: C02 C33 C50 D22 J23 K32 L60 Q40 Q50
    Date: 2020–10–30
  4. By: Ara Jo (Center of Economic Research, ETH Zürich, Zürichbergstrasse 18, 8089 Zürich, Switzerland.)
    Abstract: The elasticity of substitution between clean and dirty energy and the direction of technological change are central parameters in discussing one of the most challenging questions today, climate change. Despite their importance, there are few studies that empirically estimate these key parameters. In this paper, I estimate the elasticity of substitution between clean and dirty energy from micro data, jointly with technological parameters that reflect the direction of technological change within the energy aggregate. I find estimates of the elasticity of substitution ranging between 2 and 3. The largely dirty-energy-biased technological change observed in the data validates the framework of directed technological change, given the historical movement of relative energy prices and the estimated elasticity of substitution above unity. However, I also find suggestive evidence that clean-energy-augmenting technology is growing faster than dirty-energy-augmenting technology in recent years with changes in relative energy prices and higher subsidies for clean energy.
    Keywords: Elasticity of substitution, directed technical change, climate change
    JEL: Q40 Q55 Q54 O33
    Date: 2020–10
  5. By: Philippe Kabore (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa); Nicholas Rivers (Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and Institute of the Environment, University of Ottawa)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the effects of extreme temperature on manufacturing output using a dataset covering the universe of manufacturing establishments in Canada from 2004 to 2012. Extreme temperature can affect manufacturing activity by affecting separately or jointly labour productivity and labour inputs. Using a panel fixed effects method, our results suggest a non-linear relationship between outdoor extreme temperature and manufacturing output. Each day where outdoor mean temperatures are below -18°C or above 24°C reduces annual manufacturing output by 0.18% and 0.11%, respectively, relative to a day with a mean temperature between 12 to 18°C. In a typical year, extreme temperatures, as measured by the number of days below -18°C or above 24°C, reduce annual manufacturing output by 2.2%, with extremely hot temperatures contributing the most to this impact. Given the predicted change in climate for the mid and end of the century, we predict annual manufacturing output losses to range between 2.8 to 3.7% in mid-century and 3.7 to 7.2% in the end of the century.
    Keywords: Climate change, Temperature, Manufacturing, Canada, Employment.
    JEL: L60 Q56 Q54 O14 O44
    Date: 2020

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