Areas of Expertise (3)
Energy and Environmental Economics
Lucas Davis is the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor at Berkeley Haas. His research focuses on energy and environmental markets, and, in particular, on electricity and natural gas regulation, pricing in competitive and non-competitive markets, and the economic and business impacts of environmental policy. He serves as co-editor of the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy and is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Prior to moving to UC Berkeley in 2009, he was an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Michigan.
University of Wisconsin: PhD, Economics
Amherst College: BA
Selected External Service & Affiliations (2)
- Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research
- Co-Editor, American Economic Journal: Economic Policy
Positions Held (1)
At Haas since 2009
2016 – present, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, Haas School of Business 2009 - present, Faculty Affiliate, Energy Institute at Haas 2012 – 2016, Associate Professor, Haas School of Business 2009 – 2012, Assistant Professor, Haas School of Business 2008 – 2009, Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, MIT 2005 – 2009, Assistant Professor, Department of Economics, University of Michigan
Media Appearances (15)
A Furious Industry Backlash Greets Moves by California Cities to Ban Natural Gas in New Construction
Inside Climate News online
Some groups want to make gas "the new coal," and hasten its demise, while the industry wants to reassure investors and convince the public that the bans are a product of fringe politics that will never reach the mainstream. "You’re seeing more cities, in states where this is possible, banning natural gas, and you’re seeing more states take preemptive measures,” said Lucas Davis, the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor. “It’s becoming more front-of-mind for policymakers all over.”
If Heating Goes Electric, We're Going to Need a Better Grid
In Texas, which suffered power shutoffs during a recent storm, 61% of occupied housing units relied on electricity for heat. According to Prof. Lucas Davis, dynamic pricing of electricity may be the answer to preventing future outages. The overwhelming majority of Texas customers share electricity prices that are too static, too inflexible, and don’t respond to market conditions.
The steady rise of electricity for home heating
Research by Lucas Davis, the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, found that the percentage of homes that use electricity for heating grew from 1% in 1950 to almost 40% by 2018. The increase has been largely price-driven, not policy-driven, and there are large numbers of additional households for whom adopting electric heating would impose relatively modest costs, he wrote.
Tesla Joins S&P 500 as Electric Car Stocks Surge
The article quotes research by Prof. Lucas Davis, who found that 90% of the tax credits to encourage the purchase of electric vehicles accrue to those with incomes in the top 20%. The study also found that electric vehicles are driven significantly less than gasoline and diesel-powered cars. "The difference is highly statistically significant. Overall, the evidence suggests that today's electric vehicles imply smaller environmental benefits than previously believed."
California bans the sale of new gas cars by 2035
The California New Car Dealers Association has criticized an executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom to ban sales of gas cars in 15 years, arguing that they are expensive and the state does not have the charging infrastructure to support electric vehicles. Lucas Davis, The Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, notes that while infrastructure will be a challenge, the announcement does not affect all vehicles. "If you're in a place where for whatever reason an EV is not going to make sense for you, there would be options," he said.
California Assemblyman Says State’s Push For Electric Vehicles Fuels ‘Environmental Racism’
Research by Lucas Davis, The Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, and Prof. Severin Borenstein, The E.T. Grether Chair in Business Administration and Public Policy and the faculty director of the Energy Institute at Haas, found that the financial benefits from federal programs aimed at promoting energy efficiency and alternative transportation are going to wealthy Americans. They found the most extreme disparity is in the program aimed at electric vehicles, where the top income quintile received about 90% of all credits.
Billionaire bonuses: It's time to revisit the CEO compensation system
La Nacion (Spanish) online
CEO compensation has leaped far beyond the sensible, according to experts. A recent paper co-authored by Lucas Davis, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, finds "strong evidence" that CEOs of energy companies get clear increases in their pay when the valuation of their companies' shares rises as a result of a jump in the price of oil, something they don't influence at all.
How CEO pay in America got out of whack
The Economist online
A recent paper co-authored by Lucas Davis, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, finds "strong evidence" that CEOs of energy firms see clear pay gains when stock valuations rise as a result of an oil-price spike, which they have no way to influence.
Buses Take on New Importance in a Subway City
Next City online
In NYC, subway ridership always trumped the bus until Covid. With bus fares up, Lucas Davis, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor, argues that making subways free to ride would help the economy and put money back into the pockets of poorer residents.
Lawmakers explore ways to fuel the Nevada’s highway fund
Las Vegas Sun online
One solution for funding road work would be to shift taxation from the gas station pump to a per-mile tax on vehicle travel, which works for both gas and electric. Research by Lucas Davis, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor and the faculty director of the Energy Institute at Haas, and Faculty Affiliate James Sallee, found that people with higher incomes are more likely to be able to afford electric cars—which means they aren't contributing to the gas taxes that fund road work.
Predicting global air conditioning demand, by nation
Energy Post online
Predicting future energy demand is difficult, more so when you must account for the choices made by individual households spread all across the globe. Air conditioning is a case in point. To tackle this, Lucas Davis led a team at the Haas School of Business to quantify each nation’s need for air conditioning, and rank them (219 countries and 1,692 cities).
Americans Are No Longer Gluttons for Electricity—Thank the LED Bulb
The Wall Street journal online
After increasing tenfold between 1950 and 2010, average residential consumption of electricity in the U.S. has dipped since 2008. Today’s appliances and electronics are more efficient, new homes are tighter and better insulated, and most importantly, LEDs have replaced traditional incandescent lightbulbs. “Any decrease is staggering,” said Prof. Lucas Davis, the Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor. “Like so many things in life, electricity consumption has gone up and up and up. Any time it doesn’t go up, it’s news.”
Energy efficiency cannot be a partisan issue for Washington
The Hill online
Lucas Davis, an economist at the University of California at Berkeley, found that energy consumption in the United States has dropped by 6 percent since 2010 after increasing by 4 percent each year between 1950 and 2010.
White House to relax energy efficiency rules for light bulbs
The New York Times online
The Trump administration plans to significantly weaken federal rules that would have forced Americans to use much more energy-efficient light bulbs, reversing one of the the decade's success stories in the fight to reduce energy use. And although the issue is being politicized, it's not just blue states that are involved: “LEDs are being sold in large volumes in all 50 states,” said Lucas Davis, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor and Faculty Director of the Energy Institute at Haas.
Is selling nuclear plants for decommissioning a safety issue?
Energy Post online
Selling a nuclear plant to a firm that will decomission it might be a textbook case of moral hazard, argues Prof. Lucas Davis, Jeffrey A. Jacobs Distinguished Professor and Faculty Director of the Energy Institute at Haas. He says that when economic incentives alone do not ensure safe and thorough decommissioning, regulation should play a larger role.
Selected Papers & Publications (10)
An Empirical Test of Hypercongestion in Highway BottlenecksJournal of Public Economics
Michael Anderson and Lucas Davis
How Effective is Energy-Efficient Housing? Evidence from a Field Trial in MexicoJournal of Development Economics
Lucas Davis, Sebastian Martinez, and Bibiana Taboada
Do Energy Efficiency Investments Deliver at the Right Time?American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Judson Boomhower and Lucas Davis
Are Fuel Economy Standards Regressive?Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Lucas Davis and Chris Knittel
Anticipation, Tax Avoidance, and the Price Elasticity of Demand for GasolineJournal of Applied Econometrics
John Coglianese, Lucas Davis, Lutz Kilian, and James Stock
Does Better Information Lead to Better Choices? Evidence from Energy-Efficiency LabelsJournal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists
Lucas W. Davis and Gilbert E. Metcalf
The Distributional Effects of U.S. Clean Energy Tax CreditsNBER Tax Policy and the Economy
Severin Borenstein and Lucas W. Davis
Market Impacts of a Nuclear Power Plant ClosureAmerican Economic Journal: Applied Economics
Lucas Davis and Catherine Hausman
Contribution of Air Conditioning Adoption to Future Energy Use under Global WarmingProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Lucas W. Davis and Paul J. Gertler
Environmental Health Risks and Housing Values: Evidence from 1,600 Toxic Plant Openings and ClosingsAmerican Economic Review
Janet Currie, Lucas Davis, Michael Greenstone, and Reed Walker
Data and Decisions
Full-time MBA Program
Data Analysis for Management
Executive MBA Program
Energy and Environmental Markets
Energy and Environmental Markets
Full-Time MBA Program