Adoption and impacts of improved biomass cookstoves in rural Rajasthan
Biomass-burning improved cookstoves (ICS) are often seen as a promising intermediate technology solution along the path of household transition to cleaner cooking. This study reports on the results of an experimental evaluation of a carbon finance-enabled program conducted in rural villages in Rajasthan, India. Half (or 20) of 40 purposively-selected treatment villages were randomly assigned to an ‘early’ intervention group that was offered a package of two biomass fuel ICS one year prior to the other half (the ‘late’ group). Analysis of data collected prior to the second phase of the intervention shows that adoption of ICS reached nearly 46% in the group exposed to the intervention, and that households largely held positive short-term views of the effects of these technologies. Moreover, we found evidence of both time savings and reductions in fuel use among intervention households. Consistent with the wider literature on the limitations of biomass-burning ICS, however, we failed to detect consistent effects on self-reported respiratory health. Findings were generally consistent across simple and difference-in-difference estimates of impacts, and suggest that biomass-burning ICS can deliver benefits even when they offer few improvements in health.
Jeuland, MA; Pattanayak, SK; Samaddar, S; Shah, R; Vora, M
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