Dr Claudia Aravena

Assistant Professor in Economics

Dr. Claudia Aravena is an assistant professor in economics at the Department of Economics at Heriot-Watt University. Her research is highly interdisciplinary in a large variety of areas within energy, environmental and behavioural economics. At the moment she is conducting research in energy efficiency, energy transition, electric vehicles, valuation and payments for ecosystem services, land use, health economics (asthma and air pollution), consumer behaviour, conservation, air quality and inequities, carbon prices and green bonds, among other topics. This research is greatly developed at national and international level with partner universities and stakeholders in the UK, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Dr. Aravenais currently the Secretary of the Latin America Environmental and Resource Economics Association (LAERE) and she is also a member of the Environment of Development Initiative (EfD) through the Colombian EfD Research Centre at the Research Group on Environmental, Natural Resource, and Applied Economic Studies (REES) in Universidad De Los Andes, Colombia.

She is currently leading projects in air qualities and inequalities in Colombia, environmental valuation and ecosystem services in Peru and Ecuador and energy efficiency and technology adoption in Scotland and Chile.

Dr. Aravena’s main expertise is in the use of stated preference methods to value non-market goods, the design and implementation of survey instruments and social experiments and in the policy analysis.

Areas of interest

  • Environmental Economics, Energy Economics, Environmental Valuation, Payment for ecosystem services, Energy Efficiency, Renewable energy, Electric vehicles, Consumer behaviour, Biodiversity, Policy instruments, Sustainable development


  • 2011, PhD in Energy, Environmental and Behavioural Economics,  Queen’s University Belfast. UK
  • 2009, Certificate in Sustainable Development (PhD Level), University College of Dublin (UCD). Ireland
  • 2007, MSc in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics, Universidad de Concepción. Chile
  • 2001, Bachelor and Licentiate Degree in Economics, Universidad de Concepción. Chile


Dr Aravena has a background in applied economics mainly focused on environmental, energy and behavioural economics. Her research is highly interdisciplinary and she enjoys producing research to inform industry and governmental decision.

Dr. Aravena joined HWU in 2016 after being the Mäler Scholar at the Beijer Institute –The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and having worked as adjunct lecturer and post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Economics in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), the Department of Electric Engineering at University College Dublin (UCD), the UCD Smurfit Business School and the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) in Ireland. She was also adjunct lecturer in the Environmental Economic Unit at University of Gothenburg.

She is interested in research in developing countries. She is the Secretary of the Latin American Environmental and Resource Economics Association (LAERE), guest lecturer at Universidad Nacional Agraria La Molina in Peru and research associate at Universidad De Los Andes, Colombia. Her teaching is focused on areas of applied economics including energy economics, natural resource economics, public sector economics and the economics of renewable energies.

"Research is the most powerful tool to build a better world. My passion is to develop high-quality and interdisciplinary research, promoting national and international collaboration to inform policy and also teaching."

Claudia Aravena

Key publications

View all publications on Research Portal External link

Projects/Research showcase

A gold trophy against a blurred halo of lights


2020 – GCRF – Global Challenges Research Fund. (£80k). PI. Title: 'Promoting community’s sustainable development - Valuing ecosystem services affected by economic activities in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador'.

2020 – GCRF (£80k). Co-I. Title: 'Mainstreaming biodiversity into coastal development: A sustainability roadmap for Paracas, Peru'.

2020 – GCRF (£10k). Co-I. Title: 'Building the science network to study ‘A Hope Spot for sustainable forest-community development around the Gulf of Tribuga, Colombia'.