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Home > Publications > Research Papers > > Chapter 4: A Resource Guide to the Social Sciences
Beyond Technology: Strengthening Energy Policy through Social Science

Chapter 4: A Resource Guide to the Social Sciences

Many outstanding social science questions related to energy production and use are in urgent need of attention from researchers. Nevertheless, a large body of literature on the societal aspects of energy is already available to policy makers and technologists. While not comprehensive, the following list of references is indicative of the extent and scope of this research.


Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy. 1996–2011. Annual Energy Review. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy.

National Research Council. 1984. Energy Use: The Human Dimension. New York: Freeman. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/9259.html.

National Research Council. 1984. Improving Energy Demand Analysis. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10457.html.

National Research Council. 1985. Energy Efficiency in Buildings: Behavioral Issues. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10463.html.

National Research Council. 1989. Improving Risk Communication. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/1189.html.

National Research Council. 1992. Global Environmental Change: Understanding the Human Dimensions. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/1792.html.

National Research Council. 1996. Understanding Risk: Informing Decisions in a Democratic Society. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/5138.html.

National Research Council. 1997. Environmentally Significant Consumption: Research Directions. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/5430.html.

National Research Council. 2002. New Tools for Environmental Protection: Education, Information, and Voluntary Measures. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/10401.html.

National Research Council. 2008. Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12434.html.

National Research Council. 2009. America’s Energy Future: Technology and Transformation. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12091.html.

National Research Council. 2010. Advancing the Science of Climate Change. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12782.html.

National Research Council. 2010. Electricity from Renewable Resources: Status, Prospects and Impediments. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12619.html.

National Research Council. 2010. Facilitating Climate Change Responses: A Report of Two Workshops on Knowledge from the Behavioral and Social Sciences. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press. http://www.nap.edu/catalog/12996.html.

President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. 2010. Report to the President on Accelerating the Pace of Change in Energy Technologies through an Integrated Federal Energy Policy. Washington, D.C.: Executive Office of the President. http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/microsites/ostp/pcast-energy-tech-report.pdf.

United States Department of Energy. 2006. Benefits of Demand Response in Electricity Markets and Recommendations for Achieving Them. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy. http://eetd.lbl.gov/ea/ems/reports/congress-1252d.pdf.

United States Department of Energy. 2011. Report on the First Quadrennial Technology Review. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Energy. http://energy.gov/downloads/report-first-quadrennial-technology-review.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. 2006. Clean Energy-Environment Guide to Action: Policies, Best Practices and Action Steps for States. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/statelocalclimate/resources/action-guide.html.


Feimer, N. R., and E. S. Geller, eds. 1983. Environmental Psychology: Directions and Perspectives. New York: Praeger Press.

Gardner, G. T., and P. C. Stern. 2002. Environmental Problems and Human Behavior. 2nd ed. Boston: Pearson Custom Publishing.

Lutzenhiser, L. 1993. “Social and Behavioral Aspects of Energy Use.” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 18 (1): 247–89. doi:10.1146/annurev.eg.18.110193.001335.

Wilson, C., and H. Dowlatabadi. 2007. “Models of Decision Making and Residential Energy Use.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 32: 169–203. doi:10.1146/annurev.energy.32.053006.141137.


Black, J. S., P. C. Stern, and J. T. Elworth. 1985. “Personal and Contextual Influences on Household Energy Adaptations.” Journal of Applied Psychology 70: 3–21. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.70.1.3.

Carrico, A. R., P. Padgett, M. P. Vandenbergh, J. Gilligan, and K. A. Wallston. 2009. “Costly Myths: An Analysis of Idling Beliefs and Behavior in Personal Motor Vehicles.” Energy Policy 37: 2881–88. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2009.03.031.

Costanzo, M., D. Archer, E. Aronson, and T. Pettigrew. 1986. “Energy Conservation Behavior: The Difficult Path from Information to Action.” American Psychologist 41: 521–28. doi:10.1016/0360-5442(84)90108-7.

Dietz, T. 2010. “Narrowing the US Energy Efficiency Gap.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 16007–8. doi:10.1073/pnas.1010651107.

Dietz, T., G. T. Gardner, J. Gilligan, P. C. Stern, and M. P. Vandenbergh. 2009. “Household Actions Can Provide a Behavioral Wedge to Rapidly Reduce U.S. Carbon Emissions.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 18452–56. doi:10.1073/pnas.0908738106.

Gardner, G. T., and P. C. Stern. 2008. “The Short List: Most Effective Actions U.S. Households Can Take to Limit Climate Change.” Environment 50 (5): 13–24. doi:10.3200/ENVT.50.5.12-25.

Gardner, G. T., P. C. Stern, T. Dietz, M. P. Vandenbergh, and J. M. Gilligan. 2010. “A Comprehensive Program to Rapidly Reduce U.S. Residential Carbon Emissions.” Paper presented at the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference, Sacramento, CA, November 15. http://www.stanford.edu/group/peec/cgi-bin/docs/events/2010/becc/presentations/2B_JonathanGilligan.pdf.

Gatersleben, B., L. Steg, and C. Vlek. 2002. “Measurement and Determinants of Environmentally Significant Consumer Behavior.” Environment and Behavior 34 (3): 335–62. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1177/0013916502034003004.

Hobson, K. 2003. “Thinking Habits into Action: The Role of Knowledge and Process in Questioning Household Consumption Practices.” Local Environment 8 (1): 95–112. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13549830306673 .

Sonderegger, R. C. 1978. “Movers and Stayers: The Resident’s Contribution to Variation across Houses in Energy Consumption for Space Heating.” Energy and Buildings 1: 313–24. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/0378-7788(78)90011-7.

Stern, P. C. 2008. “Environmentally Significant Behavior in the Home.” In The Cambridge Handbook of Psychology and Economic Behaviour, edited by A. Lewis, 363–82. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Stern, P. C., E. Aronson, J. M. Darley, D. H. Hill, E. Hirst, W. Kempton, and T. J. Wilbanks. 1986. “The Effectiveness of Incentives for Residential Energy Conservation.” Evaluation Review 10 (2): 147–76. doi:10.1177/0193841X8601000201.

Stern, P. C., J. S. Black, and J. T. Elworth. 1983. “Responses to Changing Energy Conditions among Massachusetts Households.” Energy 8: 515–23. doi:10.1016/0360-5442(83)90077-4.

Stevenson, F., and A. Leaman. 2010. “Evaluating Housing Performance in Relation to Human Behaviour: New Challenges.” Building Research and Information 38: 437–41. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1080/09613218.2010.497282.


Attari, S. Z., M. L. DeKay, C. I. Davidson, and W. Bruine de Bruin. 2010. “Public Perceptions of Energy Consumption and Savings.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107: 16054–59. doi:10.1073/pnas.1001509107.

de Haan, P., M. G. Mueller, and R. W. Scholz. 2009. “How Much Do Incentives Affect Car Purchase? Agent-Based Microsimulation of Consumer Choice of New Cars—Part II: Forecasting Effects of Feebates Based on Energy-Efficiency.” Energy Policy 37: 1083–94. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2008.11.003.

Gallagher, K. S., and E. Muehlegger. 2011. “Giving Green to Get Green: Incentives and Consumer Adoption of Hybrid Vehicle Technology.” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management 61 (1): 1–15. doi:10.1016/j.jeem.2010.05.004.

Jaffe, A. B., and R. N. Stavins. 1994. “The Energy Efficiency Gap: What Does It Mean?” Energy Policy 22: 804–10. doi:10.1016/0301-4215(94)90138-4.

Krantz, D. H., and H. C. Kunreuther. 2007. “Goals and Plans in Decision Making.” Judgment and Decision Making 2 (3): 137–68. http://journal.sjdm.org/7303b/jdm7303b.htm.

Levine, M. D., J. G. Koomey, J. E. McMahon, A. H. Sanstad, and E. Hirst. 1995. “Energy Efficiency Policy and Market Failures.” Annual Review of Energy and the Environment 20: 535–55. doi:10.1146/annurev.eg.20.110195.002535.

Mueller, M. G., and P. de Haan. 2009. “How Much Do Incentives Affect Car Purchase? Agent-Based Microsimulation of Consumer Choice of New Cars—Part I: Model Structure, Simulation of Bounded Rationality, and Model Validation.” Energy Policy 37: 1072–82. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2008.11.002.

Small, K. A., and K. Van Dender. 2007. “Fuel Efficiency and Motor Vehicle Travel: The Declining Rebound Effect.” Energy Journal 28 (1): 25–51. doi:10.5547/ISSN0195-6574-EJ-Vol28-No1-2.

Turrentine, T. S., and K. S. Kurani. 2007. “Car Buyers and Fuel Economy?” Energy Policy 35: 1213– 23. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2006.03.005.

Wall, R., P. Devine-Wright, and G. A. Mill. 2007. “Comparing and Combining Theories to Explain Proenvironmental Intentions: The Case of Commuting-Mode Choice.” Environment and Behavior 39 (6): 731–53. doi:10.1177/0013916506294594.


Burgess, J., and M. Nye. 2008. “Re-materialising Energy Use through Transparent Monitoring Systems.” Energy Policy 36: 4454–59. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2008.09.039.

Bye, T., and A. Bruvoll. 2008. “Multiple Instruments to Change Energy Behaviour: The Emperor’s New Clothes?” Energy Efficiency 1 (4): 373–86. doi:10.1007/s12053-008-9023-9.

Darby, S. 2006. The Effectiveness of Feedback on Energy Consumption: A Review for DEFRA of the Literature on Metering, Billing and Direct Displays. Oxford, U.K.: Environmental Change Institute, University of Oxford. http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/research/energy/electric-metering.php.

Ehrhardt-Martinez, K., K. A. Donnelly, and J. A. Laitner. 2010. Advanced Metering Initiatives and Residential Feedback Programs: A Meta-review for Household Electricity-Saving Opportunities. Washington, D.C.: American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. http://www.aceee.org/research-report/e105.

Faruqui, A., S. Sergici, A. Sharif. 2010. “The Impact of Informational Feedback on Energy Consumption—A Survey of the Experimental Evidence.” Energy 35 (4): 1598–608. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.energy.2009.07.042.

Fischer, C. 2008. “Feedback on Household Electricity Consumption: A Tool for Saving Energy?” Energy Efficiency 1 (4): 79–104. doi:10.1007/s12053-008-9009-7.

Heffner, R. R., T. S. Turrentine, and K. S. Kurani. 2006. A Primer on Automobile Semiotics. Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-06-01. Davis, CA: Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California. http://pubs.its.ucdavis.edu/publication_detail.php?id=136.

Neenan, B., and J. Robinson. 2009. Residential Electricity Use Feedback: A Research Synthesis and Economic Framework. Palo Alto, CA: Electric Power Research Institute. http://my.epri.com/portal/server.pt?Abstract_id=000000000001016844.

Siero, F. W., A. B. Bakker, G. B. Dekker, and M. T. C. Van Den Burg. 1996. “Changing Organizational Energy Consumption Behaviour through Comparative Feedback.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 16 (3): 235–46. doi:10.1006/jevp.1996.0019.

Temple, J. L., K. Johnson, K. Recupero, and H. Suders. 2010. “Nutrition Labels Decrease Energy Intake in Adults Consuming Lunch in the Laboratory.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110: 1094–97. doi:10.1016/j.jada.2010.04.006.

Vandenbergh, M. P., T. Dietz, and P. C. Stern. 2011. “Time to Try Carbon Labeling.” Nature Climate Change 1: 4–6. doi:10.1038/nclimate1071.


Abrahamse, W., and L. Steg. 2009. “How Do Socio-demographic and Psychological Factors Relate to Households’ Direct and Indirect Energy Use and Savings?” Journal of Economic Psychology 30: 711–20. doi:10.1016/j.joep.2009.05.006.

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Ajzen, I., and M. Fishbein. 1980. Understanding Attitudes and Predicting Social Behavior. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Bamberg, S., and G. Moser. 2007. “Twenty years after Hines, Hungerford, and Tomera: A New Meta-analysis of Psycho-social Determinants of Pro-environmental Behaviour.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 27: 14–25. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2006.12.002.

Clark, C. F., M. J. Kotchen, and M. R. Moore. 2003. “Internal and External Influences on Pro-environmental Behavior: Participation in a Green Electricity Program.” Journal of Environmental Psychology 23: 237–46. doi:10.1016/S0272-4944(02)00105-6.

Dietz, T., A. Dan, and R. Shwom. 2007. “Support for Climate Change Policy: Social Psychological and Social Structural Influences.” Rural Sociology 72: 185–214. doi/10.1526/003601107781170026/abstract.

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