WP-044: Erica Myers, Steven Puller, and Jeremy West "Effects of Mandatory Energy Efficiency Disclosure in Housing Markets" (October 2019)
Mandatory disclosure policies are increasingly prevalent despite sparse evidence that they improve market outcomes. We study the effects of requiring home sellers to provide buyers with certified audits of residential energy efficiency. Using similar nearby homes as a comparison group, we find this requirement increases price capitalization of energy efficiency and encourages energy-saving residential investments. We present additional evidence characterizing the market failure as symmetrically incomplete information, which is ameliorated by government intervention. More generally, we formalize and provide empirical support for seller ignorance as a motivation for disclosure policies in markets with bilaterally incomplete information about quality.