Low free-riding at the cost of subsidizing the rich. Replicating Swiss energy retrofit subsidy findings in Norway
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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OriginalversjonEnergy and Buildings. 2021, 253 . 10.1016/j.enbuild.2021.111542
Understanding free-riding is central to effective household energy retrofit subsidy policymaking. We replicate a Swiss study on free-riding prevalence in household energy retrofitting in Norway Studer and Rieder (2019). Compared to the original studies free-riding prevalence of 50%, we find only 10%, indicating that Norwegian free-riding is low. Similar to the original study, we find that the use of advisory service and having a good perception of the implementer is associated with not free-riding, but argue these findings should not be interpreted entirely causally, as confounding variables can also explain this association. Finally, we find that Norwegian retrofit subsidies are heavily focused on high-income households, which has ethical implications. Comparing the subsidy systems of the two countries, our findings indicate that raising the energy standard threshold for receiving retrofit subsidies leads to less free-riding, but could stimulate less retrofitting as a whole and focuses distribution of the subsidies on to rich households.