Public energy productivity investment influences the amount of future energy consumption. If a present government expects its successor to value the social costs of fuel usage differently, this adds a strategic component to its investment considerations. We analyze this governmental time-inconsistency situation as a sequential game. In particular, we show how the expectation of a more conservative party taking over makes a green government choose an investment level that is ineffcient in that neither of the parties would prefer it to the investment level of a permanent green government. Under some circumstances, the opposition would even prefer the government to stay in power for sure: The gain of avoiding strategic investment then outweighs the loss of not being able to regulate energy consumption. We also analyze welfare gains of binding agreements.
political economics environmental policy energy policy energy effciency rebound effects energy externalities strategic investment sequential games time-inconsistency