An Economic Model of Clean-Vehicle Adoption

Models of Clean-Vehicle Adoption improve Public Policy Design, Implementation, and Adaptation

Policies promoting clean-vehicle adoption are excellent candidates for more evidence-based approaches.

Technical, behavioral, and economic evidence can help agencies target environmental policies more effectively, identifying direct and indirect benefits as well as adjustments needed across diverse stakeholder groups. By establishing clear standards for monitoring and evaluation, the state can also better communicate its goals and progress toward them. Moreover, lessons learned from experience can facilitate effective policy adaptation.

To successfully reach and sustain ambitious adoption goals, policies and programs all rely on the interplay of economic incentives, behavior, and the responses of other public and private actors. Communication and learning are essential to identify opportunities and challenges for effective program deployment and performance. No policy is perfect when it is first implemented, but if it can be adjusted based on new information and lessons learned, net benefits can be larger, longer, and more inclusive.

An evidence-based model supports more effective policy with three main components:

1.    Knowledge Development – evaluating and communicating policy effectiveness requires relevant and timely data, metrics for progress toward policy goals, and transparent indicators to support policy dialog

  • Database design – every policy package should include an information system that measures the primary operating characteristics and outcomes, not merely financial accounts but detailed data on program coverage, response patterns, and individual outcomes
  • A set of performance criteria representing program goals, including objectively verifiable indicators representing progress toward those goals
  • Sampling – for the data and indicators above, a clear set of standards for inclusive sampling, monitoring, and reporting protocols that can support program reporting and evaluation.

2.    Knowledge Management – Information gathered from a given program is a public resource, but in raw data form its usefulness is limited. There are three primary ways to add value to such evidence in ways that improve public understanding of program benefits and identify opportunities for improvement:

  • Performance Evaluation – using data to explicitly measure progress toward program goals, either recurrently or ex post. This kind of analysis can make essential contributions to public appreciation of program benefits and sustain political and administrative support
  • Impact Assessment – ex ante, ongoing, and/or ex post evaluation of program effects on the larger economy and society.
  • Adaptive Policy – program evaluation offers an essential feedback mechanism to learn by doing

This component is relevant to all programs, but especially those that have already made substantial investments in data (e.g. CVRP, EFMP Plus-Up, and Equity). A few examples of evaluation/impact issues that can be addressed include the following:

  • Additionality – Whether (and how much) programs contributed to clean-vehicle uptake and whether the policies are effective at reaching target communities.
  • Social benefits – What were the implications in terms of environmental metrics, efficiency, benefits to individuals, and human health impacts?
  • Environmental justice and equity – Were the programs successful at affecting clean-vehicle adoption in disadvantaged communities?

Evidence-based answers to questions like these can support the commitment of scarce public resources, buttress arguments for program expansion, facilitate policy adaptation and adaptation, as well as establish precedence for future programs elsewhere.

3.    Communication Strategy – Incorporating both knowledge development and management directly into policy design allows agencies to engage in proactive rather than reactive communication. Channels for constructive engagement:

  • Internal – agency monitoring, cross-support, and administrative oversight
  • External – robust and transparent stakeholder communication

Examples of communication opportunities:

  • branding and disseminating evidence on direct and indirect policy benefits – web portals, report series, media strategy, etc.
  • identifying adjustment needs, complementary measures, and partnership opportunities.
  • communicating lessons learned to facilitate broader public and private adoption, engagement, and program support

BEAR has decades of California, national, and international experience with all three components summarized above. http://www.bearecon.com

 Berkeley Economic Advising and Research

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