Do Energy Efficiency Networks Save Energy? Evidence from German Plant-Level Data

41 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019

See all articles by Jan Stede

Jan Stede

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Date Written: July 2019


In energy efficiency networks, groups of firms exchange experiences on energy conservation in regular meetings over several years. The companies implement energy efficiency measures in order to reach commonly agreed energy savings and CO2 reduction goals. Energy efficiency networks exist in several countries, such as Germany, Sweden and China. Existing evaluations of such voluntary regional networks in Germany claim that participants improved energy efficiency at twice the speed of the industry average. Based on comprehensive data from the German manufacturing census, this paper examines whether participation in energy efficiency networks has a causal impact on energy conservation and CO2 emissions. I employ both a difference-in-differences estimator, using companies that joined energy efficiency networks at a later point in time as a control group, as well as a semi-parametric matching estimator. I demonstrate that for the average participant there is no evidence of a statistically significant effect on energy productivity or CO2 emissions due to the network activities. However, there is some indication that exporters may have benefited from the networks by reducing their CO2 emissions.

Keywords: business networks, voluntary agreements, energy conservation, policy evaluation

JEL Classification: D22, Q40, Q51, C50

Suggested Citation

Stede, Jan, Do Energy Efficiency Networks Save Energy? Evidence from German Plant-Level Data (July 2019). DIW Berlin Discussion Paper No. 1813 (2019). Available at SSRN: or

Jan Stede (Contact Author)

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstra├če 58
Berlin, 10117

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