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Income dependent direct and indirect rebound effects from ’green’ consumption choices in Australia

Murray, Cameron K (2011): Income dependent direct and indirect rebound effects from ’green’ consumption choices in Australia.

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Abstract

Changing household behaviour is often encouraged as a means of reducing energy demand and subsequently greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The direct and indirect rebound effects from cost-saving ‘green’ household consumption choices were estimated using Australian data. Rebound effects from cost-saving 'green' consumption choices are modelled as income effects, allowing for variation with households income level.

Cases examined are: reduced vehicle use, reduced electricity use, the adoption of energy efficient vehicles, and the adoption of energy efficient electrical lighting.

Four econometric estimation models are utilised to estimate income effects, and the before and after expenditure patterns are matched with life-cycle assessment (LCA) estimates of the embodied GHG of each expenditure category. Direct and indirect rebound effects alone are estimated at around 10% for household electricity conservation, and for reduced vehicle fuel consumption around 20%, at the median household income level.

Direct rebound effects are larger for low-income households; however, indirect effects are larger for higher income households. The scale of the effect estimated, and the variation with household incomes, is attributed to LCA methodologies. These results should be interpreted as the minimum rebound effect, with greater rebound effects, and decreased effectiveness of household ‘green’ consumption, expected in reality.

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