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Energy Consumption in the French Residential Sector: How Much do Individual Preferences Matter?

The aim of this research is to understand the impact of preference heterogeneity in explaining energy consumption in French homes. Using a discrete-continuous model and the conditional mixed-process estimator (CMP) enable us to address two potential endogeneities in residential energy consumption: energy prices and the choice of home energy characteristics. As a key contribution, we provide evidence that a preference for comfort over saving energy does have significant direct and indirect impacts on energy consumption (through the choice of dwelling), particularly 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 18% for high-income households. Our results strengthen the belief that household heterogeneity is an important 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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Keywords: Residential energy consumption, Household preferences, Discrete-continuous choice method, Conditional mixed-process

DOI: 10.5547/01956574.40.3.sbak

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Published in Volume 40, Number 3 of the bi-monthly journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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