Why Has California's Residential Electricity Consumption Been So Flat Since The 1980s?

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Executive Summary

The authors use detailed microeconomic data to investigate why aggregate residential electricity consumption in California has been flat since 1980. Using unique micro data, they document the role that household demographics and ideology play in determining electricity demand. They show that building codes have been effective for homes built after 1983. They find that houses built in the 1970s and early 1980s were energy inefficient relative to houses built before 1960 because the price of electricity at the time of construction was low. Employing the regression estimates, they construct an aggregate residential electricity consumption time series index from 1980 to 2006.

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