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Cost Liability and Residential Space Heating Expenditures of Welfare Recipients in Germany

SOEPpapers 31, 18 S.

Katrin Rehdanz, Sven Stöwhase


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Published in: Fiscal Studies 29 (2008) 3, 329-345


Within the German welfare system, heating expenditures of recipients are in general fully covered by the government. This paper empirically tests for the hypothesis that households receiving welfare payments turn to over consumption of residential space heating. We use microdata from two different data sources to explore whether conditional heating expenditures of these households significantly differ from those of other households. Our empirical findings suggest that even when controlling for a range of other factors this is indeed the case as heating expenditures lie about 10 percent above those of other households. These results are fairly robust to sensitivity analyses. Our results imply that there is potential scope for cost savings if this policy is changed.

JEL-Classification: H23;Q41;Q48
Keywords: Social welfare, Germany, Space heating, Economic incentives
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)