Sebastian Tonke: Dissertation prize for practice-relevant development research


Sebastian Tonke receives the sponsorship award for the best doctoral thesis in the field of practice-relevant development research from the Development Economics Committee of the “Verein für Socialpolitik” (VfS). The prize is supported by KfW Entwicklungsbank. Cluster member at ECONtribute and Chair of Experimental Economics and Behavioral Research at the University of Cologne, Professor Bettina Rockenbach, supervised the dissertation.

The award honors young researchers whose doctoral theses combine scientific excellence and practical relevance for the field of development policy.

In his dissertation, Sebastian Tonke studies in cooperation with public water suppliers in Kosovo and Namibia ways to manage the increasingly scarce resource water sustainably. For this purpose, he develops innovative instruments based on behavioral economics to motivate consumers to a more sustainable use of water. The interventions are evaluated using controlled experimental field studies and are characterized by their effectiveness, cost efficiency and social acceptability. The dissertation demonstrates the potential, but also the limitations, of behavioral economic interventions to solve complex, global problems.

Dr. Sebastian Tonke has now joined the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Common Goods in Bonn as a post-doctoral fellow – the institute is in turn a cooperation partner of ECONtribute: Markets & Public Policy.


Carolin Jackermeier

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