Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Empower the Consumer! Energy-related Financial Literacy and its Implications for Economic Decision Making

Open Access Article

Untapped energy savings potential in the residential sector might lead to substantial welfare losses. While several studies have focused on the role of behavioral biases in explaining the lack of adoption of energy-efficient durable goods, little is known about the role of limited energy-specific knowledge and financial literacy. In this paper, we propose an integrated concept of ‘energy-related financial literacy’, which combines both energy cost-specific knowledge and skills needed to process this information. Using data from a large household survey in three European countries, we explore the determinants of different measures of literacy and, most importantly, we provide empirical evidence on the association between limited knowledge and skills to perform an intertemporal optimization and the adoption of energy-efficient light bulbs. Our findings support the promotion of energy-specific financial education programs and tools to increase the adoption of energy-efficient durable goods.
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Keywords: Household decision making, Bounded rationality, Financial literacy, Consumer durables, Energy efficiency

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.10.2.jbla

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Published in Volume 10, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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