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Identifying the Rebound: Evidence from a German Household Panel

Manuel Frondel, Jorg Peters, and Colin Vance

Year: 2008
Volume: Volume 29
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol29-No4-7
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Abstract:
Using a panel of household travel diary data collected in Germany between 1997 and 2005, this study assesses the effectiveness of fuel efficiency improvements by estimating the rebound effect, which measures the extent to which higher efficiency causes additional travel. Following a theoretical discussion outlining three alternative definitions of the rebound effect, the econometric analysis generates corresponding estimates using panel methods to control for the effects of unobservables that could otherwise produce spurious results. Our results, which range between 57% and 67%, indicate a rebound that is substantially larger than obtained in other studies, calling into question the efficacy of policies targeted at reducing energy consumption via technological efficiency.



Re-Identifying the Rebound: What About Asymmetry?

Manuel Frondel and Colin Vance

Year: 2013
Volume: Volume 34
Number: Number 4
DOI: 10.5547/01956574.34.4.3
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Abstract:
Rebound effects measure the behaviorally induced offset in the reduction of energy consumption following efficiency improvements. Using panel estimation methods and household travel diary data collected in Germany between 1997 and 2009, this study identifies the rebound effect in private transport by allowing for the possibility that fuel price elasticities--from which rebound effects can be derived--are asymmetric. This approach rests on empirical evidence suggesting that the response in individual travel demand to price increases is stronger than to decreases. We argue that such an asymmetric response would require referencing price elasticities derived from price decreases in order to identify the rebound effect, as it represents the response to a decrease in unit cost for car travel due to improved fuel efficiency. Failing to reject the null hypothesis of a symmetric price response, we alternatively estimate a reversible specification and obtain a rebound estimate for single-vehicle households being in the range of 46 to 70%, which is in line with an earlier German study by Frondel, Peters, and Vance (2008).





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