Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/141466
Authors: 
Bardsley, Nicholas
Büchs, Milena
Schnepf, Sylke V.
Year of Publication: 
2016
Series/Report no.: 
IZA Discussion Papers 9707
Abstract: 
Consumption surveys often record zero purchases of a good because of a short observation window. Only mean consumption rates can then be inferred. We show that propensity scores can be used to estimate each unit's consumption rate, revealing the distribution. We demonstrate the method using the UK National Travel Survey, in which c.40% of motorist households purchase no fuel. Estimated consumption rates are plausible judging by households' annual mileages, and highly skewed. We apply the same approach to estimate CO2 emissions and direct outcomes of a carbon cap or tax. Analysis of such policies based solely on means appears to have a negative bias, because of skewness of the underlying distributions. The regressiveness of a simple tax or cap is overstated, and redistributive features of a revenue-neutral policy are understated.
Subjects: 
emissions reduction
fuel consumption
infrequent purchase
propensity score matching
surveys
JEL: 
C13
D04
D12
H23
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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