"Mandatory Energy Efficiency Disclosure in Housing Markets"

October 31, 2022

Mandatory Energy Efficiency Disclosure in Housing Markets
Erica Myers, Steven L. Puller and Jeremy West

"Mandatory disclosure policies are implemented broadly despite sparse evidence that they improve market outcomes. We study the effects of requiring home sellers to provide buyers with certified audits of residential energy efficiency. Using similar nearby homes as a comparison group, we find that this requirement increases price premiums for energy efficiency and encourages energy-saving investments. We additionally present evidence highlighting the market failure—incomplete information by both buyers and sellers—that prevents widespread voluntary disclosure of energy efficiency in housing transactions. Our findings support that disclosure policies can improve market outcomes in settings with symmetrically incomplete information."

Do Two Electricity Pricing Wrongs Make a Right? Cost Recovery, Externalities, and Efficiency
Severin Borenstein and James B. Bushnell

"Economists favor pricing pollution in part so that consumers face the full social marginal cost (SMC) of goods and services. But even absent externalities, retail electricity prices typically exceed private marginal cost, due to a utility’s need to cover average costs. Furthermore, the SMC of electricity can fluctuate widely hour-to-hour, while retail prices do not. We show that residential electricity rates exceed average SMC in most of the US, but there is large geographic and temporal variation. This finding has important implications for pass-through of pollution costs, as well as for policies promoting dynamic pricing, alternative energy, and reduced electricity consumption."