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The Bias in Price Elasticity Estimates Under Separability Between Electricity and Labor in Studies of Time-of-Use Electricity

Abstract:
Most time-of-use(TOU) studies of electricity use in the business sector have found little overall response, as measured by price elasticities, to TOU rates. These studies employed the assumption of weak separability between electricity and all other inputs. Here, we use the generalized Leontief cost function to show that when labor is included in the estimation, the electricity price elasticities are larger, in absolute values, than when labor is erroneously excluded. This result is demonstrated with data on electricity and labor for about 400 Israeli business customers. We also show that the omission of labor from the estimation may cause serious underestimation of the net welfare gains that result from changing a flat electricity price to a TOU rate.

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Energy Specializations: Energy Modeling – Energy Data, Modeling, and Policy Analysis; Electricity – Markets and Prices ; Electricity – Policy and Regulation

JEL Codes:
E61 - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
D42 - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design: Monopoly
E60 - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook: General

Keywords: Electricity demand, Time-of-Use (TOU), Israel, electricity prices

DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol19-No2-13


Published in Volume19, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.