Institutional Affiliation: University of California at Santa Cruz
|Effects of Mandatory Energy Efficiency Disclosure in Housing Markets|
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Mandatory disclosure policies are increasingly prevalent 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 this requirement increases price capitalization of energy efficiency and encourages energy-saving residential investments. We present additional evidence characterizing the market failure as symmetrically incomplete information, which is ameliorated by government intervention. More generally, we formalize and provide empirical support for seller ignorance as a motivation for disclosure policies in markets with bilaterally incomplete information about quality.
|Vehicle Miles (Not) Traveled: Why Fuel Economy Requirements Don't Increase Household Driving|
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A major concern with addressing the negative externalities of gasoline consumption by regulating fuel economy, rather than increasing fuel taxes, is that households respond by driving more. This paper exploits a discrete threshold in the eligibility for Cash for Clunkers to show that fuel economy restrictions lead households to purchase vehicles that have lower cost-per-mile, but are also smaller and lower-performance. Whereas the former effect can increase driving, the latter effect can reduce it. Results indicate these households do not drive more, suggesting that behavioral responses do not necessarily undermine the effectiveness of fuel economy restrictions at reducing gasoline consumption.
Published: Jeremy West, Mark Hoekstra, Jonathan Meer, Steven L. Puller, Vehicle miles (not) traveled: Fuel economy requirements, vehicle characteristics, and household driving, Journal of Public Economics, Volume 145, 2017, Pages 65-81, ISSN 0047-2727, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpubeco.2016.09.009.
|Cash for Corollas: When Stimulus Reduces Spending|
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The 2009 Cash for Clunkers program aimed to stimulate consumer spending in the new automobile industry, which was experiencing disproportionate reductions in demand and employment during the Great Recession. Exploiting program eligibility criteria in a regression discontinuity design, we show nearly 60 percent of the subsidies went to households who would have purchased during the two-month program anyway; the rest accelerated sales by no more than eight months. Moreover, the program’s fuel efficiency restrictions shifted purchases toward vehicles that cost on average $5,000 less. On net, Cash for Clunkers significantly reduced total new vehicle spending over the ten month period.
Published: Mark Hoekstra & Steven L. Puller & Jeremy West, 2017. "Cash for Corollas: When Stimulus Reduces Spending," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 1-35, July.
|Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics|
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The voluminous literature on minimum wages offers little consensus on the extent to which a wage floor impacts employment. We argue that the minimum wage will impact employment over time, through changes in growth rather than an immediate drop in relative employment levels. We conduct simulations showing that commonly-used specifications in this literature, especially those that include state-specific time trends, will not accurately capture these effects. Using three separate state panels of administrative employment data, we find that the minimum wage reduces job growth over a period of several years. These effects are most pronounced for younger workers and in industries with a higher proportion of low-wage workers.
Published: Jonathan Meer & Jeremy West, 2016. "Effects of the Minimum Wage on Employment Dynamics," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 51(2), pages 500-522. citation courtesy of