About Me

Photo by  D. Barnes

Doug Barnes is an environment and infrastructure sociologist with a strong background in economics. He has been involved in rural energy, household energy, and international development issues for the last 35 years. He worked on issues of energy, environment, and equity in many different developing countries, and has continually been involved in the development and implementation of innovative household surveys. He also has specialized on institutional issues for the development of decentralized electricity projects, biomass energy, and the transition from traditional to modern fuels.

Check out my new more general blog on writing on various topics at:

Among my major publications my most recent book is on Electric Power for Rural Growth, 2nd Edition. This is a complete revision of a book first published in 1988 on the impact of rural electrification on development. A new chapter updates changes in impact assessment methods during the last 2 years. The Challenge of Rural Electrification: Strategies for Developing Countries is now one of the classic studies of the institutional aspects of rural electrification.  Several years ago I finished a major book on urban household energy called The Urban Energy Transition: Energy, Poverty and the Environment in the Developing World. This is a study based on household surveys in 12 countries that examine urban energy policies, environmental, and equity issues for developing countries. About 15 years ago I led the efforts to develop a strategy for rural energy for the World Bank which has had a significant influence on the World Bank’s energy program, and it was published as Rural Energy and Development: Improving Energy Supplies for Two Billion People.   For other publications, see the sidebar of this blog.

I have worked for 25 years at the World Bank and 4 years at Resources for the Future both of which are located in Washington DC. I was a senior advisor for the India Human Development Survey (IHDS) at the University of Marlyand, College Park.  Originally I became interested in international development as a Peace Corps Volunteer and spent nearly two years in the state of Maharashtra, India. Also, I am an active bicycle advocate in Washington, DC.


For my 25 years of working at the World Bank on energy in developing countries, I have received two awards from the University of Illinois. In 2012 I was granted the LAS Alumni Achievement Award and in 2020 the Department of Sociology gave me their Outstanding Alumni Award.  I have received many awards at the World Bank including one in 2006 on the best practices for the development of a rural electrification project in Bangladesh. This project was one of the first to have a major component on renewable household energy. Prior to working at the World Bank, I received several awards/grants from the National Science Foundation, the American Institute of Indian Studies and the predacessor of the Foreigh Language and Area Studies program.

Ph.D. University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, 1979, Sociology
M. A. St. John’s University (New York City), 1974, Sociology
A. B. Ohio University (Athens, Ohio), 1969, Sociology

Email: Contact Doug Barnes at barnesdf@gmail.com
Another (Author's Website): Doug Barnes Author
Twitter: @DouglasFBarnes