Open Access Peer-reviewed Commentary

SDGs and the engagement of EU citizens: The role of behavioral science in the energy transition

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Manuela Amadori
Mariano Votta corresponding author


The EU’s ambitious targets to increase energy efficiency and cope with the challenge of climate change have pushed several stakeholders, including public authorities and Distributed System Operators (DSOs), to actively invest in the energy transition and improve energy efficiency. Although a significant part of this investment concerns digital infrastructure (i.e., smart meters) allowing citizens to monitor and better manage their consumption of energy, it is pivotal to recognize the necessity for changes in the overall energy-related behavior of consumers. Against this background, the NUDGE project seeks to first analyze the behavior of European citizens with concern the energy consumption and to consequently design and test nudging interventions on different segments of the population, in the hope to derive recommendations tailored to each country and to design more general policies at European level. Hence, pilot projects will be carried out in households, energy communities, and schools in five different EU countries, while a general profiling survey will be disseminated online across the EU. Indeed, in order to profile users and assess the impact of an intervention, NUDGE takes a mixed approach which combines field experiments and randomized control trials with surveys, on-site observations, and reports. The latter provide additional insights to the psychological and contextual variables that result in the behaviors evidenced in the trials. Fundamental to this research is the collaboration of the consortium’s partner Cittadinanzattiva-Active Citizenship Network with a number of civic and consumer organizations of different European countries that have shown their interest in the initiative and will collaborate in the dissemination of the online questionnaire in their country. Overall, this project is carried out with the ambition to of raising awareness of the projects’ major outcomes among the European institutions, starting from the Inter-Institutional Group “SDG’s for well-being and consumers’ protection,” which was launched at European level in February 2021 with the support of various Members of the European Parliament and the endorsement of 48 European and National Associations.

energy transition, SDGs, green deal, behavioral Science, nudging, civic activism

Article Details

How to Cite
Amadori, M., & Votta, M. (2021). SDGs and the engagement of EU citizens: The role of behavioral science in the energy transition. Resources and Environmental Economics, 3(1), 239-244.


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