New insights into rebound effects : theory and empirical evidence

Murray, Cameron Keith (2009) New insights into rebound effects : theory and empirical evidence. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.

Abstract

The main objective of the thesis is to seek insights into the theory, and provide empirical evidence of rebound effects. Rebound effects reduce the environmental benefits of environmental policies and household behaviour changes. In particular, win-win demand side measures, in the form of energy efficiency and household consumption pattern changes, are seen as ways for households and businesses to save money and the environment. However, these savings have environmental impacts when spent, which are known as rebound effects. This is an area that has been widely neglected by policy makers.

This work extends the rebound effect literature in three important ways, (1) it incorporates the potential for variation of rebound effects with household income level, (2) it enables the isolation of direct and indirect effects for cases of energy efficient technology adoption, and examines the relationship between these two component effects, and (3) it expands the scope of rebound effect analysis to include government taxes and subsidies.
MACROBUTTON HTMLDirect Using a case study approach it is found that the rebound effect from household consumption pattern changes targeted at electricity is between 5 and 10%. For consumption pattern changes with reduced vehicle fuel use, the rebound effect is in the order of 20 to 30%. Higher income households in general are found to have a lower total rebound effect; however the indirect effect becomes relatively more significant at higher household income levels. In the win-lose case of domestic photovoltaic electricity generation, it is demonstrated that negative rebound effects can occur, which can potentially amplify the environmental benefits of this action.

The rebound effect from a carbon tax, which occurs due to the re-spending of raised revenues, was found to be in the range of 11-32%. Taxes and transfers between households of different income levels also have environmental implications. For example, a more progressive tax structure, with increased low income welfare payments is likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions. Subsidies aimed at encouraging environmentally friendly consumption habits are also subject to rebound effects, as they constitute a substitution of government expenditure for household expenditure. For policy makers, these findings point to the need to incorporate rebound effects in the environmental policy evaluation process.’

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 27655
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Wilson, Clevo & Robinson, Timothy
Keywords: rebound effect, demand side management, direct rebound effect, indirect rebound effect, greenhouse gas emissions, CO2, household consumption patterns, efficiency, energy, conservation, natural resources
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 30 Sep 2009 04:14
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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