Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Is the Grass Greener on the Other Side?

I investigate whether households face reduced access to energy efficient goods in low income and minority neighborhoods. Using data from 27,000 zip codes, I uncover empirical regularities in access to three categories of ENERGYSTAR@ goods: light bulbs, electronics, and appliances. I find that (1) lower income neighborhoods experience reduced access to ENERGYSTAR@ goods; and that (2) for light bulbs and household appliances, more diverse neighborhoods have greater access to energy efficient goods than more homogeneous neighborhoods, regardless of race. The opposite holds true for household electronics. This is the first study of this issue.
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JEL Codes:L51: Economics of Regulation, H23: Taxation and Subsidies: Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies, Q35: Hydrocarbon Resources

Keywords: EnergyStar, energy efficiency gap, environmental justice, consumer access

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.5.2.lbui

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Published in Volume 5, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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