The Lightbulb Paradox: Evidence from Two Randomized Experiments
77 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2013 Last revised: 14 May 2021
Date Written: December 2013
Imperfect information and inattention to energy costs are important potential justifications for energy efficiency standards and subsidies. We evaluate these policies in the lightbulb market using a theoretical model and two randomized experiments. We derive welfare effects as functions of reduced-form sufficient statistics capturing economic and psychological parameters, which we estimate using a novel within-subject information disclosure experiment. In the context of the model, the main results suggest that moderate subsidies for energy efficient lightbulbs may increase welfare, but informational and attentional biases alone do not justify a ban on incandescent lightbulbs.
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation