Lucas Davis, Alan Fuchs, and Paul Gertler, "Cash for Coolers: Evaluating a Large-Scale Appliance Replacement Program in Mexico" (Revised November 2013) (Revised version published in American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 6(4): 207 - 238. 2014. ) Full Paper
This paper evaluates a large-scale appliance replacement program in Mexico that between 2009 and 2012 helped 1.9 million households replace their old refrigerators and air-conditioners with energy-efficient models. Using household-level billing records from the universe of Mexican residential customers, we find that refrigerator replacement reduces electricity consumption by 8%, about one-quarter of what was predicted by ex ante analyses. Moreover, we find that air conditioning replacement actually increases electricity consumption. Overall, we find that the program is an expensive way to reduce externalities from energy use, reducing carbon dioxide emissions at a program cost of over $500 per ton.