HKS Affiliated Authors

Teresa and John Heinz Professor of the Practice of Environmental Policy


Capital versus Output Subsidies: Implications of Alternative Incentives for Wind Energy. Joseph Aldy, September 2016, Paper "We examine the choice between using capital and using output subsidies to promote wind energy in the United States. We exploit a natural experiment in which wind farm developers were unexpectedly given the opportunity to choose between an upfront investment subsidy and an output subsidy in order to estimate the differential impact of these subsidies on project productivity. Using matching and instrumental variables, we find that wind farms choosing the capital subsidy produce 5 to 12 percent less electricity per unit of capacity than wind farms selecting the output subsidy and that this effect is driven by incentives generated by these subsidies rather than selection. We then use these estimates to evaluate the public economics of U.S. wind energy subsidies. " Link