Socioeconomic & sociotechnical analyses



Surveys and opinion polls are important tools for gaining deeper insights into the factors that influence citizens’ behavior and attitudes. Statistical analysis of survey results can reveal relationships between various factors that determine household and business behavior (e.g. personal attitudes, demographic factors, energy consumption or behavior, willingness to pay, etc.). In recent years, the Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz has surveyed more than 30,000 people in Europe on various energy topics. Depending on the project requirements, different methods have been used, including experimental surveys, focus groups and face-to-face or virtual interviews. Often, focus groups are conducted before individual interviews to ensure that the actual survey covers all relevant issues and dimensions of the project’s research question.


Sociotechnical assessments provide a qualitative, empirically based analysis to characterize the impact of new products, technologies, processes, or services on their environment. The combination of a strategic stakeholder approach with the qualitative assessment of social, technological, environmental, economic, and political perspectives enables the derivation of various potential barriers as well as opportunities. This comprehensive socio-technical assessment results in targeted measures, strategies, and recommendations for action supporting a successful implementation of new products, technologies, processes, or services. Applied in parallel to the development process, the analysis identifies potential future challenges or barriers at an early stage and enables targeted countermeasures. As a result, opportunities are also exploited in an early development phase and the course for a successful roll-out is set.


Prices of products and services are an important indicator of the value that society places on these goods. In the energy system, however, the development of technologies and services is so rapid that it has often not been possible to establish a market price for these innovations.

In addition, there are goods in the energy system that cannot be traded on the market due to their structure and for which there is therefore no market price. Nevertheless, it is often important for policymaking processes to determine the value of these goods to society. An example of such a good is the reliability of the electricity supply: what is the value to Austrian society of the fact that, on average, the electricity supply only fails once a year for less than an hour, while in other countries power cuts occur much more frequently?

The Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz uses the method of willingness-to-pay analysis to help companies set prices for new products and services and to determine the value of public goods. This method starts directly with the end customer and observes consumer behavior in simulated purchase decisions. The Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz has used this methodology in a number of different projects and continues to develop it.


Expert interviews as a qualitative empirical instrument are used at the Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz, among other things, to identify and understand interrelationships when looking at holistic systems. Expert interviews are defined on the basis of the special target group of the interviews. Experts have special knowledge in the research field and are interviewed as advisors or knowledge providers. They have the purpose of collecting knowledge from the practical world and the world of action of proven experts in order to locate and analyze the interdependencies of individual actors and institutions. Based on this, statements can be created on influencing factors that significantly steer the pace, direction, opportunities and barriers in the energy system. The expertise of the researchers at the Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz in using this methodology can thus deliver scientific results that would normally remain within the boundaries of the respective organization of the experts. To date, the Energieinstitut an der JKU Linz has conducted more than 200 expert interviews within the framework of projects, which have contributed to the creation of recommendations for action, project interventions and sector-specific forecasts.

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