Measuring the impacts of clean cooking technologies

Since coming to Duke, I have become involved in the topic of energy poverty and energy transitions. As part of this work, I and others conduct research aimed at measuring both the a) demand for clean energy technologies such as improved cookstoves, and b) impacts of such technologies on household well-being, particularly productivity and health outcomes.

Main research collaborators:

  • Subhrendu Pattanayak (Duke University)
  • Jessica Lewis (Duke University)
  • Nina Brooks (Stanford University)
  • Vasundhara Bhojvaid (Delhi University)
  • Omkar Patange (Deloitte Touche)

Related Publications:

Brooks, N.; V. Bhojvaid; M. Jeuland; J. Lewis; O. Patange; S. Pattanayak (2015). “How much do clean cookstoves reduce biomass fuel consumption? Evidence from North India” Resource and Energy Economics (Forthcoming).

Abstract: Despite widespread global efforts to promote clean cookstoves to achieve improvements in air and forest quality, and to reduce global climate change, surprisingly little is known about the degree to which these actually reduce biomass fuel consumption in real-world settings. Using data from in-house weighing of fuel conducted in rural India, we examine the impact of cleaner cookstoves – most of which are LPG stoves – on three key outcomes related to solid fuel use. Our results suggest that using a clean cookstove is associated with daily reductions of about 4.5 kg of biomass fuel, 160 fewer minutes cooking on traditional stoves, and 105 fewer minutes collecting biomass fuels. These findings of substantial savings are robust to the use of estimators with varying levels of control for selection, and to alternative data obtained from household self-reports. Our results support the idea that efforts to promote clean stoves among poor rural households can reduce solid fuel use and cooking time, and that rebound effects towards greater amounts of cooking on multiple stoves are not sufficient to eliminate these gains. We also find, however, that households who have greater wealth, fewer members, are in less marginalized groups, and practice other health-averting behaviors, are more likely to use these cleaner stoves, which suggests that socio-economic status plays an important role in determining who benefits from such technologies. Future efforts to capture social benefits must therefore consider how to promote the use of alternative technologies by poor households, given that these households are least likely to own clean stoves.

Jeuland, M.; R. Bluffstone; S.K. Pattanayak (2015). “The economics of household air pollution.” Annual Review of Resource Economics 7: 81-108.

Abstract: Traditional energy technologies and consumer products contribute to household well‐being in diverse ways, but often also harm household air quality. This paper reviews the problem of household air pollution (HAP) generation at a global scale, focusing particularly on the negative effects of traditional cooking and heating. Drawing on the theory of household production of improved health, we illustrate the ambiguous relationship between household utility and adoption of behaviors and technologies that decrease air pollution. We then review how the theory relates to the seemingly contradictory findings emerging from the literature on household demand for clean fuels and stoves. In conclusion, we describe an economics research agenda to close the knowledge gaps so that policies and programs can be designed and evaluated to solve this critical global problem.