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Creating linked datasets for SME energy-assessment evidence-building: Results from the U.S. Industrial Assessment Center Program

Dalzell, Nicole M., Boyd, Gale A., Reiter, Jerome P.
Energy policy 2017 v.111 pp. 95-101
data collection, databases, energy efficiency, industry, issues and policy, markets, peers, small and medium enterprises, social welfare, uncertainty, United States
Lack of information is commonly cited as a market failure resulting in an energy-efficiency gap. Government information policies to fill this gap may enable improvements in energy efficiency and social welfare because of the externalities of energy use. The U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Assessment Center (IAC) program is one such policy intervention, providing no-cost assessments to small and medium enterprises (SME). The IAC program has assembled a wealth of data on these assessments, but the database does not include information about participants after the assessment or on non-participants. This study addresses that lack by creating a new linked dataset using the public IAC and non-public data at the Census Bureau. The IAC database excludes detail needed for an exact match, so the study developed a linking methodology to account for uncertainty in the matching process. Based on the linking approach, a difference in difference analysis for SME that received an assessment was done; plants that received an assessment improve their performance over time, relative to industry peers that did not. This new linked dataset is likely to shed even more light on the impact of the IAC and similar programs in advancing energy efficiency.