Energy Efficiency & Behaviour in Developing Countries

Expert Roundtable

Bonn, 12.12.2013


German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

The Expert Roundtable on Energy Efficiency & Behaviour in Developing Countries was hosted by the German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE) in Bonn on 12 December 2013. It brought together researchers and practitioners in the fields of behavioural economics and energy efficiency, including participants from development banks, think tanks, implementing agencies and multilateral organisations. The Roundtable contributed to the German Federal Ministry of Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ) funded project Managing the Transition to Sustainable and Inclusive Energy Systems.


Neoclassical economics has shaped our understanding of human behaviour for several decades. In real life, however, humans are not always rational and utility-maximising. They have biases for the familiar and things they already own, holding on to them even in cases of economic loss; they prefer a limited number of choices over many; and they procrastinate even when immediate action would be beneficial. In contrast to purely seeking to serve their self-interest, they can be motivated by altruism, fairness, and commitment, or by competing with others. Called the World’s most important “fuel” by some, energy efficiency masquerades as a low-hanging fruit. However, biased decision making frequently stands in the way of implementation. People prefer things they already own and they want to stick with their habits, even if this means wasting energy and money. Incorporating the insights of behavioural economics into energy efficiency programmes may help to motivate people to overcome this inertia. While the impact of subjective decision making on energy efficiency uptake has been demonstrated in OECD Member countries, evidence for developing economies is scarce. This workshop aimed to inform the design of energy efficiency programmes by drawing on the wealth of experience from researchers and practitioners in the fields of behavioural economics and development co-operation.

09:00 h Registration

09:30 h Welcome Imme Scholz, Deputy Director, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

09:45 h Keynote: Applying behavioural insights to change energyconsumption
Florian Kutzner, Heidelberg University
Laura de Molière, University College London
Introduction: Anna Pegels, DIE

10:45 h Break

11:00 h Conducting Energy Efficiency Programmes in Developing

Countries: Practitioner input and roundtable discussion

  • Rudolf Hennes, Principle Engineer, KfW Entwicklungsbank
  • Alfred Hartzenburg, Senior Project Manager, Industrial Energy Efficiency Project South Afric
  • Marco Matteini, Industrial Development Officer, Industrial Energy Efficiency Unit, Energy and Climate Change Branch, UNIDO
  • Samson Tolessa, GIZ Uganda

Moderation: Tilman Altenburg (Aurelia Figueroa), DIE

12:30 h Concluding Remarks

  • Franz-Birger Marré, German Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development (BMZ), Head of Division Water, Energy, Urban Development, Geosciences Sector

Hinweis / Please note

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