Energy consumption in the French residencial sector: how much do individual preferences matter?

Publié le 07 mars 2018

Par Salomé Bakaloglou et Dorothée Charlier 

The aim of this research is to understand the weight of preference heterogeneity in explaining energy consumption in French homes.

Using a discrete-continuous model and the conditional mixed-process estimator (CMP) allows us to tackle two potential endogeneities in residential energy consumption: energy prices and the choice of equipment. As a major contribution, we provide evidence that preferences for comfort over energy savings do have significant direct and indirect impacts on energy consumption, especially for high-income households.

Preferring comfort over economy or one additional degree of heating implies an average energy overconsumption of 10% and 7.8% respectively, up to 36% for high-income households.

Our results strengthen the belief that household heterogeneity is a substantial factor in explaining energy consumption and could have meaningful implications for the design of public policy tools aimed at reducing energy consumption in the residential sector.

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