Photo of Erich Muehlegger

Erich Muehlegger is a Professor of Economics at the University of California, Davis, and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.

His research interests include industrial organization, public finance, economic regulation, and environmental policy.

Muehlegger received his BA from Williams College in 1997 and his PhD from MIT in 2005. He taught at the Harvard Kennedy School from 2005-2014 and has taught at UC Davis since 2014.



Recent Research Highlights

Subsidizing Low- and Middle-income Adoption of Electric Vehicles: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from California (with David Rapson), conditionally accepted, Journal of Public Economics

Little is known about electric vehicle (EV) demand by low- and middle-income households. In this paper, we exploit a policy that provides exogenous variation in large EV subsidies targeted at the mass market in California. Using transaction-level data, we estimate three important policy parameters: the rate of subsidy pass-through, the impact of the subsidy on EV adoption, and the elasticity of demand for EVs among low- and middle-income households. Demand for EVs in our sample is price-elastic (-2.1) and buyers capture roughly 73 to 85 percent of the subsidy.

Pass-Through of Own and Rival Cost Shocks: Evidence from the U.S. Fracking Boom (with Richard Sweeney), forthcoming at Review of Economics and Statistics

In imperfectly competitive settings, a firm’s price depends on its own costs as well as those of its competitors. Richard Sweeney and I demonstrate that this has important implications for the estimation and interpretation of pass-through. Leveraging a large input cost shock resulting from the fracking boom, we isolate price responses to firm-specific, regional and industry-wide input cost shocks in the US oil refining industry. The pass-through of these components vary from near zero to full pass-through, reconciling seemingly disparate results from the literature. We illustrate the policy implications of rival cost pass-through in the context of a tax on refinery carbon emissions.