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Health awareness and the transition towards clean cooking fuels: evidence from Rajasthan


Zahno, Martina; Michaelowa, Katharina; Dasgupta, Purnamita; Sachdeva, Ishita (2019). Health awareness and the transition towards clean cooking fuels: evidence from Rajasthan. CIS Working Paper 102, University of Zurich.

Abstract

Worldwide, about 2.9 billion people cook and heat using open fires and simple stoves burning solid biomass like wood, dung or agricultural residues. The inefficient combustion process causes high emissions of aerosols and gaseous pollutants evoking serious adverse impacts on human health and the environment. To mitigate these health risks and the associated detrimental climate active emissions, multiple initiatives have promoted the use of cleaner cooking technologies and fuels. In this context, the Indian government currently promotes the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). A large-scale program essentially covering the upfront costs of the new technology has increased the number of households with LPG stoves by more than 70 million since 2016. However, even after adopting LPG, a major fraction of the rural population continues to rely on solid biomass as their primary cooking fuel. One reason for the limited use of LPG could be that the health effects of traditional cooking are not sufficiently known to the households. We examine this hypothesis through an experiment providing randomized health information to 550 respondents with low LPG consumption in rural Rajasthan. Our results indicate that health information significantly increases the reported willingness to pay for LPG and has a strong positive impact on consumption behavior. We show that the causal mechanism indeed works via improved health knowledge, which is significantly higher among households receiving the health information. We also find suggestive evidence that knowledge-building regarding the health effects of cooking fuels should not target women alone.

Abstract

Worldwide, about 2.9 billion people cook and heat using open fires and simple stoves burning solid biomass like wood, dung or agricultural residues. The inefficient combustion process causes high emissions of aerosols and gaseous pollutants evoking serious adverse impacts on human health and the environment. To mitigate these health risks and the associated detrimental climate active emissions, multiple initiatives have promoted the use of cleaner cooking technologies and fuels. In this context, the Indian government currently promotes the use of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG). A large-scale program essentially covering the upfront costs of the new technology has increased the number of households with LPG stoves by more than 70 million since 2016. However, even after adopting LPG, a major fraction of the rural population continues to rely on solid biomass as their primary cooking fuel. One reason for the limited use of LPG could be that the health effects of traditional cooking are not sufficiently known to the households. We examine this hypothesis through an experiment providing randomized health information to 550 respondents with low LPG consumption in rural Rajasthan. Our results indicate that health information significantly increases the reported willingness to pay for LPG and has a strong positive impact on consumption behavior. We show that the causal mechanism indeed works via improved health knowledge, which is significantly higher among households receiving the health information. We also find suggestive evidence that knowledge-building regarding the health effects of cooking fuels should not target women alone.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Political Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
Uncontrolled Keywords:household air pollution, health, clean cooking fuels, energy access, willingness to pay, experiment, India
Language:English
Date:12 August 2019
Deposited On:20 Aug 2019 09:56
Last Modified:11 Jun 2020 03:24
Series Name:CIS Working Paper
Number of Pages:76
ISSN:1662-7504
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Official URL:https://ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/cis-dam/Working_Papers/WP%20102%20Zahno,%20Michaelowa,Dasgupta,%20Sachdeva.pdf
Related URLs:http://www.cis.ethz.ch/research/working-papers.html (Organisation)
https://www.recherche-portal.ch/ZAD:default_scope:ebi01_prod011468690 (Library Catalogue)
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/187978/

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