Rational Economic Theory

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The rational-economic theory is based on the principle that people behave in a certain manner primarily determined through their financial interests. Individuals will engage in a process of cost-benefit analysis to determine which actions to take, which determines their subsequent behavior - 11]- Therefore it is obvious, which interventions have to follow this approach not just to foster energy awareness and sustainability but any attitude or change in behavior.

In using this model, the structure of energy pricing, whether it is electricity itself or devices which need energy, have to be altered to benefit the individual financially. For example, there has been publicity that energy saving light bulbs cost more in purchase than the old fashioned incandescent light bulbs but over time save tremendously on energy and therefore on spending as well.

However, and this is the main point of criticism towards the rational-economic theory, many studies have shown (e.g., - 12]) that people do not solely decide and behave on their financial interest. Situational factors and/or personal interests such as comfort and luxury (e.g., slow reaction times of the new energy saving light bulbs) but also convenience or resistance to change, habits or behavior pattern, often outweigh logical rationalizations that are motivated by monetary cost - 13]. Results show that the rational-economic theory and measures, which follow this approach, often do not succeed in producing the desired behavioral responses of individuals (e.g., [14]). However, in combination with other designs and actions, financial benefits can be appealing.

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