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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
View 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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