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Abstract

Green electricity products are increasingly made available to consumers in many countries in an effort to address a number of environmental and social concerns. Most of the existing literature on this green electricity market focuses on consumer's characteristics and product attributes that could affect participation. However, the contribution of this environmental consumerism to the overall environmental good does not depend on participation alone. The real impact made relies on market penetration for green consumers (the proportion of green consumers) combined with the level of green consumption intensity-the commitment levels, or proportion of consumption that is green. We design an online interface that closely mimics the real market environment for electricity consumers in Western Australia and use an error component model to analyze consumers' choice of green electricity products is much more strongly influenced by consumer characteristics than product attributes. When green products are selected, the vast majority select the minimum commitment possible, and this is insensitive to the premium being charged on green power, suggesting that we are largely observing a "warm glow" for carbon mitigation.

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