Works published in this series are relevant for public policy. Some of them are also published in the Working Papers series.

The FAERE Policy Papers are included in EconPapers and RePEc.



PP 2017-01
French nuclear bet

Quentin Perrier

After the first oil shock, France fully engaged in the world’s largest nuclear program, ordering 36 reactors within two years. These reactors are now reaching the end of their lifetime, so a new policy must be defined: Should they be retrofitted or decommissioned? What are the prospects for nuclear afterwards? The best economic decision crucially depends on the future costs of nuclear, demand levels and CO2 price, which are all subject to significant uncertainty.
To deal with these uncertainties, we apply the framework of Robust Decision Making to determine which plants should be retrofitted. We build an optimization model of investment and dispatch, calibrated for France. Then we use it to study 27 retrofit strategies for all combinations of uncertain parameters.
Based on nearly 3,000 runs, our analysis reveals one robust strategy, which is to shut down from 7 to 14 of the oldest 14 reactors, and then extend the lifetime of all remaining reactors. Departing from cost-minimization strategies and from the French official scenarios, this provides a hedge against unexpected high retrofit cost, decreasing demand or low CO2 price. But we also show how this strategy remains vulnerable to a combination of these three elements, which helps understand and put numbers on the current debate.
In the longer term, we show that the optimal share of nuclear in the power mix decreases. If the cost of new reactors (EPR or else) remains higher than 80 €/MWh, this optimal share drops below 40% in 2050. A combination of variable renewables, hydropower and gas becomes competitive, even if the price of CO2 reaches 200 €/tCO2.


PP 2016-08
Multiple Standards: the Case of the French Building Industry

Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline

The building sector is simultaneously characterized by regulation pervasiveness, by the superposition and overlapping of technical standards, and by a profusion of labels. This paper analyzes the rationale for such a multiplicity of mandatory and voluntary standards. The main consequences are the risk of confusion in the minds of buyers and the rise in prices due to the additional costs imposed by the continuous progression of requirements and the need to comply with many different standards. Both effects seriously hamper the penetration of the market by the products with the most demanding labels. The simplification of this regulatory and normative package would likely improve the economic efficiency of the sector.

PP 2016-07
The land use change time-accounting failure

Marion Dupoux

Land use change (LUC) is the second human-induced source of greenhouse gases (GHG). This paper warns about the LUC time-accounting failure in internalizing GHG impacts in economic appraisal (within policies). This emerges from (i) relative carbon prices commonly following the Hotelling rule as if climate change were regarded as an exhaustible resource problem and (ii) a uniform annualization (i.e. constant flows over time) of LUC impacts supported by most energy policies. First, carbon prices time evolution should account for the climate change framework specificities (natural carbon absorption, uncertainty), which makes a departure from the Hotelling rule necessary. Second, there is a carbon dynamic after land conversion: GHG impact flows are strictly decreasing over time. With a theoretical framework, I show that the employment of the uniform annualization, within a benefit-cost analysis, enhances both the discounting overwhelming effect and the carbon price increase, whatever the type of impact (emissions or sequestrations). It results in skewed values of LUC-related projects as long as relative carbon prices deviate from the Hotelling rule. I apply this framework to global warming impacts of bioethanol in France and quantify this bias. In particular, carbon profitability payback periods under the uniform approach do not reflect the LUC effective carbon investment. This potentially modifies the conclusions regarding a project’s achievement of imposed environmental criteria.

PP 2016-06
Fuel Poverty: a Composite Index Approach

Dorothée Charlier – Bérangère Legendre

Fuel poverty is an increasingly serious problem across countries. However, fuel poverty is not well defined and measured. Today, fuel poverty objective measure which takes into account monetary constraint, bad energy efficiency of the dwelling and heating restriction does not exist. Fuel poverty has been mainly treated as a problem of monetary poverty. However households concerned by a fuel poverty issue are not exactly the same than those concerned by monetary problems. Thus, in this paper, we provide the first Fuel Poverty Index (FPI) taking into account all dimensions of the definition. This index is calculated using objective measures such as (i) the disposable income to consider the monetary constraint, (ii) the energy consumption as a measure of energy efficiency and (iii) the indoor temperature in order to capture heating restriction. Using a matching estimation, the quality of the indoor temperature as a proxy of heating restriction is demonstrated.

PP 2016-05
An evaluation of French municipal solid waste pricing system

Houévoh Amandine Gnonlonfin

This study investigates the preventive effect and substitution effect of the Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) pricing policy in France. We examine the relationship between quantities of MSW and incentive taxes with the use of a panel of 96 French metropolitan departments between 2005 and 2011, and we use panel data and Heckman two-step estimation in order to consider sample selection. We perform the analysis for the collection of MSW and six technologies of management of the waste, namely recycling materials, composting, incineration with and without energy recovery, landfilling and dumping. We estimate the elasticity of the collection of MSW and the elasticity of these technologies in relation to three incentive taxes of the French pricing system by considering the endogeneity of municipality’s decisions about both local incentive tax and technology choice. The results confirm that the French MSW pricing system has a preventive and a substitution effect and show that these effects are complementary.

PP 2016-04
Natural capital accounts and public policy decisions: Findings from a survey

Mathilde Jeantil – Laura Recuero Virto – Jean-Louis Weber

The initiatives in natural capital accounting have multiplied in the recent years, particularly concerning ecosystem accounts. Policy commitmments in natural capital accounts are also proliferating. Yet, natural capital accounting has been rarely used so far to inform public policy decisions. Based on a survey for statistical offices and ministries and independent experts worldwide, we seek to bring some light on the obstacles in the use of natural capital accounts for public policy decisions. We find that, independently of the income level, countries are equally engaged in the integration of natural capital accounts in theircommitments and strategies. And yet, there is very little use of natural capital accounts for public policy decisions and, more so, in developing countries. The most relevant obstacles are the lack of political support by key people and institutional leadership unable to promote policy use by other ministries. Even if projects should preferably be demand-driven, raising awareness on the existence and uses of accounts is essential among the different levels of government administration. Concerning developing countries, the factor which is considered as the most relevant in preventing the use of natural capital accounts for policy making is the stage of development of the country. In addition, respondents from statistical institutes and developing countries are particularly concerned about institutional obstacles and, to a lesser extent, data availability and cooperation. Respondents from ministries and independent experts are also particularly concerned about design obstacles, such as the difficulty to draw a link between natural capital accounts and policy decisions and unclear guidelines forthe creation of the accounts. Besides, natural capital accounts are used for policy decisions with a certain lag with respect to their creation and hence no rapid action should be expected immediately following initial investments on accounts. A key result of the survey is the need to evaluate the value-added of natural capital accounts with respect to statistics, prior to the development of accounts. Indeed, localproblems and habitats might be better addressed through cost-benefit analysis. To conclude, most probably only once we witness a major environmental event, natural capital accounts will be considered as sufficiently relevant from a policy standpoint to attain the same degree of maturity as national income accounts both in their development and in their integration in the decision-making process.

PP 2016-03
Interaction between CO2 emissions trading and renewable energy subsidies under uncertainty: feed-in tariffs as a safety net against over-allocation

Oskar Lecuyer – Philippe Quirion

We study the interactions between a CO2 emissions trading system (ETS) and renewable energy subsidies under uncertainty over electricity demand and energy costs. We first provide evidence that uncertainty has generated over-allocation (defined as an emissions cap above business-as-usual emissions) during at least part of the history of most ETSs in the world. We then develop an analytical model and a numerical model applied to the European Union electricity market in which renewable energy subsidies are justified only by CO2 abatement. We show that in this context, when uncertainty is small, renewable energy subsidies are not justified, but when it is big enough, these subsidies increase expected welfare because they provide CO2 abatement even in the case of over-allocation.
The source of uncertainty is important when comparing the various types of renewable energy subsidies. Under uncertainty over electricity demand, renewable energy costs or gas prices, a feed-in tariff brings higher expected welfare than a feed-in premium because it provides a higher subsidy when it is actually needed i.e. when the electricity price is low. Under uncertainty over coal prices, the opposite result holds true. These results shed new light on the ongoing switch from feed-in tariffs to feed-in premiums in Europe.

PP 2016-02
La transition énergétique est-elle favorable aux branches à fort contenu en emploi ? Une approche input-output pour la France

Quentin Perrier – Philippe Quirion

In the public debate on energy transition in France, employment figures prominently. We calculate, for the French economy in 2010, the employment content and greenhouse gas intensities in different branches, that is to say the number of jobs and tonne-CO2 equivalent per million euro of final demand. For this we use the input-output table at the most disaggregated level available (64 branches). We develop and then apply a unique methodology to decompose the differences in job content between industries in five factors: the rate of imports of final products, the rate of imports of intermediate goods, the rates of taxes and subsidies, the levels of wages and the share of labor compensation in value added. Finally, we study some intersectoral substitutions that would result from an energy transition to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

PP 2016-01
Reducing the Energy Burden of the Poor and Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Can We Kill Two Birds with One Stone?

Dorothée Charlier – Anna Risch – Claire Salmon

In this article, we assess current public policies, designed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, lower energy consumption, and fight the “energy burden” in the long term, so that it might offer relevant policy recommendations. We develop an existing partial equilibrium model to take into consideration key determinants of excessive energy burden. This analysis reveals that public policies are not sufficient to reach the ambitious objectives for reducing energy consumption and GHG emissions in France. Moreover, the decreases that might occur disguise significant social disparities across households. The joint implementation of multiple instruments leads to interactions that diminish overall policy outcomes. Overall, current public policies produce estimated free-riding rates of 75%. Energy efficiency measures are thus insufficient; governments need to focus more on monetary poverty as a cause of low renovation rates and consider subsidies of renovation costs as a potential solution.


PP 2015-06
Environmental Impacts of the French Final Consumption

Laurent Meunier – Frédéric Gilbert – Eric Vidalenc

In order to fight against climate change, ambitious targets have been set, such as decreasing carbon emissions by 75% in France compared to 1990. Yet, focusing on territorial impacts leads to overlook import-embedded impacts. As a matter of fact, French territorial greenhouse gases (henceforth GHG) emissions have slightly decreased since 1990, whereas consumption-based emissions have been shown to increase. This is why we focus in this paper on consumption-based emissions rather than territorial emissions. Moreover, our analysis is not carbon-emissions focused. Indeed, the following environmental impacts are taken into account: air acidification, photochemical oxidation and non-dangerous industrial wastes. This a first contribution. Secondly, we build a scenario of French households final consumption in 2030 aiming at decreasing its environmental impacts. Finally, a deep matrix algebra analysis gives us precious hints on the reliability of the results.

PP 2015-05
L’information préventive améliore-t-elle la perception des risques majeurs? Impact de l’Information Acquéreur Locataire sur le prix des logements

Amélie Mauroux

This article evaluates the impact of a seller’s disclosure, the ”Information Acquéreur Locataire” (IAL), on the housing prices and natural risk perception in at-risk areas. The date of implementation of the IAL, June the 1st 2006, as an exogenous shock on the buyers’ information on risk exposure of the housing units. A difference-in-differences hedonic price model is estimated on an unique database merging notary data on individual transactions in 2006 and the maps of the at-risk regulated areas. The results suggest that the implementation of the IAL increased the share of informed buyers : every else hold equal, in towns under a PPRi the price of some housing units under IAL decreased compared to the price of similar units located outside the at-risk regulated perimeters. It is the case for apartments on the first floor or in towns hit by a natural disaster the year before the sale. The implementation of the IAL also decreased the probability that, after June 2006, at-risk individual houses were sold to buyers living in another town and thus less likely to be informed on the local natural risk exposure.

PP 2015-04
The Long Run Impact of Biofuels on Food Prices

Ujjayant Chakravorty – Marie-Hélène Hubert – Michel Moreaux – Linda Nostbakken

More than 40% of US corn is now used to produce biofuels, which are used as substitutes for gasoline in transportation. Biofuels have been blamed universally for past increases in world food prices, and many studies have shown that these energy mandates in the US and EU may have a large (30-60%) impact on food prices. In this paper, we use a partial equilibrium framework to show that demand-side effects – in the form of population growth and income-driven preferences for meat and dairy products rather than cereals – may play as much of a role in raising food prices as biofuel policy. By specifying a Ricardian model with differential land quality, we find that a significant amount of new land will be converted to farming, which is likely to cause a modest increase in food prices. However, biofuels may increase aggregate world carbon emissions, due to leakage from lower oil prices and conversion of pasture and forest land for farming.

PP 2015-03
Cross-commuting and housing prices in a polycentric modeling of cities

Vincent Viguié

Long term strategies, relying on city planning and travel demand management, are essential if deep GHG reduction ambitions are to be achieved in urban transport sector. However, how to precisely design such strategies remains unclear. Indeed, whereas there is a broad consensus that urban spatial structure is a key determinant in explaining travel pattern generation, the mechanisms are not yet fully understood. Especially, the interplay between commuting and localization choices leading to cross commuting in a polycentric city remains an open question, and cannot be easily explained using existing urban economics frameworks. In this study, we introduce a novel urban economic framework, fully micro-economic based, which describes land prices, population distribution and commuting travel choices in a polycentric city, with jobs locations exogenously given. It relies on the modeling of moving costs and market imperfections, especially housing-search imperfections. Using Paris as a case study, we show how this model, when adequately calibrated, reproduces available data on the internal structure of the city (rents, population densities, travel choices). A validation over the 1900-2010 period also shows that the model captures the main determinants of city shape evolution over this time. This suggests that this tool can be used to inform policy decisions

PP 2015-02
Quel  mode  de  soutien  pour  les  énergies  renouvelables  électriques ?

Philippe Quirion

While most developed and emergent countries support renewable energies in the power sector, they do so in a different manner. The three main existing support systems are feed-in-tariffs, feed-in-premiums and tradable renewable quotas. We provide a survey of the literature which compares these support systems. We conclude that tradable renewable quotas suffer from many weaknesses compared to the other two: bad reaction to uncertainty, important risk for funders which increases investment cost, higher transaction costs. Both feed-in-tariffs and premiums have pros and cons and there is little evidence that the transition from the former to the latter, currently occurring in Germany and France, is justified. Finally, beyond the choice between tariff and premium, many concrete choices are at least as important such as the way to finance the support and the differentiation between market segments, necessary to limit the rents but potentially a source of inefficiency.

PP 2015-01
Global Sensitivity Analysis of an Energy-Economy Model of the Residential Building Sector

Frédéric Branger – Louis-Gaëtan Giraudet – Céline Guivarch – Philippe Quirion

In this paper, we discuss the results of a sensitivity analysis of Res-IRF, an energy-economy model of the demand for space heating in French dwellings. Res-IRF has been developed for the purpose of increasing behavioral detail in the modeling of energy demand. The different drivers of energy demand, namely the extensive margin of energy efficiency investment, the intensive one and building occupants’ behavior are disaggregated and determined endogenously. The model also represents the established barriers to the diffusion of energy efficiency: heterogeneity of consumer preferences, landlord-tenant split incentives and slow diffusion of information. The relevance of these modeling assumptions is assessed through the Morris method of sensitivity analysis, which allows for the exploration of uncertainty over the whole input space. We find that the Res-IRF model is most sensitive to energy prices. It is also found to be quite sensitive to the factors parameterizing the di fferent drivers of energy demand. In contrast, inputs mimicking barriers to energy efficiency have been found to have little influence. These conclusions build confidence in the accuracy of the model and highlight occupants’ behavior as a priority area for future empirical research.


PP 2014-03
Reaping the carbon rent: abatement and overallocation profits in the European cement industry, insights from an LMDI decomposition analysis

Frédéric Branger – Philippe Quirion

We analyse variations of carbon emissions in the European cement industry from 1990 to 2011, at the European level (EU 27), and at the national level for six major producers (Germany, France, Spain, United Kingdom, Italy and Poland). We apply a Log-Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) method, crossing data from three databases: the Getting the Numbers Right (GNR) database developed by the Cement Sustainability Initiative, the European Union Transaction Log (EUTL), and the Eurostat International Trade database.
Our decomposition method allows disentangling seven channels of emissions change: activity, clinker trade, clinker share, alternative fuels, thermal and electric energy efficiency, and electricity decarbonisation. We find that, apart from a slow trend of emissions reductions coming from technological improvements (first from a decrease in the clinker share, then from an increase in alternative fuels), most of the emissions changes can be attributed to the activity effect.
Using counterfactual scenarios, we estimate that the introduction of theEU ETS brought small but positive technological abatement (2.0% plus or minus 1.1% between 2005 and 2011). Moreover, we find that the European cement industry have gained 3.5 billion euros of « overallocation profits », mostly due to the slowdown of production. Based on these findings, we advocate for output-based allocations, based on a stringent hybrid clinker and cement benchmarking

PP 2014-02
Assessing and ordering investment in polluting fossil-fueled and zero-carbon capital

Oskar Lecuyer – Adrien Vogt-Schilb

We study the transition from preexisting polluting fossil-fueled capital (coal power) to cleaner fossil-fueled capital (gas) and zero-carbon capital (renewable). We model exhaustible resources, irreversible investment, adjustment costs and a carbon budget; both fossil-fuel and renewable energy consumption are subject to capacity constraints. To smooth investment and spread costs, optimal investment in expensive renewable power may start before the cheaper fossil resources are exhausted. Gas power operates as a bridge technology between coal and renewable: it allows building less renewable at the beginning of the transition, moving some efforts from the short to the middle term. Finally, the popular criteria of the levelized cost of electricity is biased toward cheaper and lower-potential alternatives (gas instead of renewable) if computed against current prices. We provide numerical simulations of the European power sector based on the Commission’s energy roadmap to 2050.

PP 2014-01
Towards a Clean Vehicle Fleet: from Households’ Valuation of Fuel Efficiency to Policy Implications

Bénédicte Meurisse – Maxime Le Roy

This paper investigates household behaviour with regard to vehicle fuel efficiency. We propose to approach the Willingness to Pay (WTP) for better fuel efficiency through the Hicksian compensating variation in income. Specifically, we distinguish the Willingness to Pay or to Accept (WTA) buying a more fuel-efficient car from the theoretical WTP for a reduction in fuel consumption without changing one’s car. Then by assuming that the household has to replace its car, we estimate a WTP for the cleanest car.
We also analyse what effect a fuel tax and/or a feebate scheme (e.g. a bonus-malus scheme) have on the WTP for the cleanest car and on the driven mileage. We find that the WTP for the cleanest car decreases following the implementation of a fuel tax. To the contrary, a feebate system leads to an increase in this WTP. But we also find that reducing the market price of the new vehicle (i.e. through a bonus) is not worthwhile in the light of the rebound effect. However, a fuel tax – as soon as it exceeds a certain level – is able to nullify the rebound effect.