BORIS Theses

BORIS Theses
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Essays in the Economics of Decarbonization. Evidence on Direct and Indirect Effects of Transportation and Solar Photovoltaic Policy in Switzerland

Bigler, Patrick (2023). Essays in the Economics of Decarbonization. Evidence on Direct and Indirect Effects of Transportation and Solar Photovoltaic Policy in Switzerland. (Thesis). Universität Bern, Bern

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This dissertation consists of three separate essays on environmental and energy economics. Together the three chapters illustrate both direct and indirect effects of policies supporting the uptake of electric vehicles and solar photovoltaic systems. Its primary objective is to demonstrate how policy evaluation, guided by an understanding of human behavior, is an essential process required to most efficiently decarbonize the economy while still receiving sufficient public support. Each distinct research paper employs data from the Swiss canton of Bern. However, I also aim to illustrate the generalization and wider applicability of the results. The first chapter, co-authored with Doina Radulescu, focuses on the individual uptake of electric vehicles and its interplay with supporting policy measures both from an environmental and a distributional point of view. We illustrate a politically feasible pathway for policymakers to more efficiently organize public outlays to support the uptake of fuel-efficient vehicles and generate environmental benefits without decreasing consumer welfare and accounting for distributional concerns. The second and third paper illustrate direct and indirect effects of increased solar photovoltaic diffusion on both neighboring households' energy behavior and the household's own electricity consumption. Chapter 2, co-authored with Benedikt Janzen, illustrates that households react to the installation of solar photovoltaic in their neighborhood by undertaking more environmentally friendly actions themselves. Peer behavior has a simultaneous impact on a broad spectrum of energy practices, and manifests itself in different ways contingent upon households’ constraints. Accounting for these indirect effects significantly improves the cost-benefit calculation of solar photovoltaic subsidies. The last paper focuses on changes in household electricity consumption after installing solar photovoltaic themselves. I provide evidence for a Swiss solar photovoltaic rebound effect at comparable levels to previous European studies and decompose this effect into different parts. My results document that parts of the rebound effect are driven by the co-adoption of electricity-intensive durable goods, such as electric vehicles, and thus the additional electricity consumption is (partially) an energy substitution and not an expansion. This result has important implications for both the evaluation of solar photovoltaic support measures, as well as the planning and forecast of future electricity load requirements.

Item Type: Thesis
Dissertation Type: Cumulative
Date of Defense: 14 December 2023
Subjects: 300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 330 Economics
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 350 Public administration & military science
Institute / Center: 03 Faculty of Business, Economics and Social Sciences > Department of Economics
Depositing User: Hammer Igor
Date Deposited: 04 Apr 2024 08:08
Last Modified: 06 Apr 2024 02:42

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