Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview

44 Pages Posted: 11 Aug 2014 Last revised: 21 Feb 2021

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Date Written: August 2014


This review paper provides an overview of the application of behavioral public economics to energy efficiency. I document policymakers' arguments for “paternalistic” energy efficiency policies, formalize with a simple model of misoptimizing consumers, review and critique empirical evidence, and suggest future research directions. While empirical results suggest that policies to address imperfect information and internalities may increase welfare in some cases, some existing policies may be mistargeted or miscalibrated.

Suggested Citation

Allcott, Hunt, Paternalism and Energy Efficiency: An Overview (August 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20363, Available at SSRN:

Hunt Allcott (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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