Shuang Zhang, Associate Professor, University of Colorado Boulder: Reforming Inefficient Energy Pricing: Evidence from China

Time: 2020-11-06 10:59 Print

Topic: Reforming Inefficient Energy Pricing: Evidence from China

Speaker: Shuang Zhang, Associate Professor of Economics, University of Colorado Boulder

Date: November 11, 2020 (Wednesday)

Time: 10:00-11:30

Location: 4-101

Language: English


Inefficient energy pricing hinders economic development in many countries. We examine long-run effects of a recent heating reform in China that replaced a commonly-used fixed-payment system with individually-metered pricing. Using staggered policy rollouts and administrative data on household-level daily heating consumption, we find that the reform induced long-run reductions in heating usage and generated substantial welfare gains. Consumers gradually learned how to conserve heating effectively, making short-run evaluations underestimate the policy impacts. Our results suggest that energy price reform is an effective way to improve allocative efficiency and air quality in developing countries, where unmetered-inefficient pricing is still ubiquitous.

About the speaker:

Shuang Zhang (Ph.D., Cornell University) is an Assistant Professor of Economics and International Affairs. She was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Stanford Institute of Economic Policy Research at Stanford University in 2012-13. Her research areas cover development, health, education and environment, with a focus on China.