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The role of consumer behavior and heterogeneity in the integrated assessment of energy and climate policies (COBHAM)
Start date: Aug 1, 2014, End date: Jul 31, 2019 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The objective of this project is to quantify the role of consumers’ behaviour on the design and assessment of policies aimed at enhancing energy efficiency and conservation and at promoting climate change mitigation. The project brings together different disciplines –namely energy policy, environmental and ecological economics, behavioral public finance, experimental economics, and technology policy- in an integrated fashion. COBHAM is designed to go beyond the standard analysis of energy and climate policies in the presence of environmental externalities, by accounting for the heterogeneity in consumers’ preferences, the role of social interactions, and the presence of behavioral tendencies and biases. The project seeks to: i) carry out innovative research in the theoretical understanding of the interplay between behavioral tendencies and environmental externalities; ii) generate new empirical data and research on individual preferences by means of original surveys and controlled experiments; iii) enhance integrated assessment models (IAMs) of economy, energy and climate with an advanced representation of consumers’ behavior. In doing so, the project will be able to provide a richer characterization of energy demand and of greenhouse gas emission scenarios, to better estimate consumers’ responsiveness to energy and climate policies, and to provide input to the design of new policy instruments aimed at influencing energy and environmental sustainable behavior. COBHAM is of high public policy relevance given Europe’s legislation on energy efficiency and CO2 emissions, and can provide important insights also outside the sphere of energy and climate policymaking.
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