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Up in Smoke: The Influence of Household Behavior on the Long-Run Impact of Improved Cooking Stoves

Listed author(s):
  • Rema Hanna
  • Esther Duflo
  • Michael Greenstone

Laboratory studies suggest that improved cooking stoves can reduce indoor air pollution, improve health, and decrease greenhouse gas emissions in developing countries. We provide evidence, from a large-scale randomized trial in India, on the benefits of a common, laboratory-validated stove with a four-year follow-up. While smoke inhalation initially falls, this effect disappears by year two. We find no changes across health outcomes or greenhouse gas emissions. Households used the stoves irregularly and inappropriately, failed to maintain them, and usage declined over time. This study underscores the need to test environmental technologies in real-world settings where behavior may undermine potential impacts. (JEL D12, O12, O13, Q53, Q54, Q55)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 8 (2016)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 80-114

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:8:y:2016:i:1:p:80-114
Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140008
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  1. Eva Arceo & Rema Hanna & Paulina Oliva, 2016. "Does the Effect of Pollution on Infant Mortality Differ Between Developing and Developed Countries? Evidence from Mexico City," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(591), pages 257-280, March.
  2. Sylvain Chassang & Gerard Padro I Miquel & Erik Snowberg, 2012. "Selective Trials: A Principal-Agent Approach to Randomized Controlled Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(4), pages 1279-1309, June.
  3. Michael Kremer & Jessica Leino & Edward Miguel & Alix Peterson Zwane, 2011. "Spring Cleaning: Rural Water Impacts, Valuation, and Property Rights Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 126(1), pages 145-205.
  4. repec:emc:wpaper:dte-546 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Duggan, Mark, 2005. "Do new prescription drugs pay for themselves?: The case of second-generation antipsychotics," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 1-31, January.
  6. Theresa Beltramo & David I. Levine, 2013. "The effect of solar ovens on fuel use, emissions and health: results from a randomised controlled trial," Journal of Development Effectiveness, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 5(2), pages 178-207, June.
  7. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "The Impact of Air Pollution on Infant Mortality: Evidence from Geographic Variation in Pollution Shocks Induced by a Recession," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1121-1167.
  8. Janet Currie & Matthew Neidell, 2005. "Air Pollution and Infant Health: What Can We Learn from California's Recent Experience?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 1003-1030.
  9. Eva Olimpia Arceo Gómez & Rema Hanna & Paulina Oliva, 2012. "Does the Effect of Pollution on Infant Mortality Differ Between Developed and Developing Countries? Evidence from Mexico City," Working papers DTE 546, CIDE, División de Economía.
  10. Seema Jayachandran, 2009. "Air Quality and Early-Life Mortality: Evidence from Indonesia’s Wildfires," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(4).
  11. Pascaline Dupas, 2011. "Health Behavior in Developing Countries," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 3(1), pages 425-449, September.
  12. Bensch, Gunther & Peters, Jörg, 2012. "A Recipe for Success? Randomized Free Distribution of Improved Cooking Stoves in Senegal," Ruhr Economic Papers 325, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
  13. Kenneth Y. Chay & Michael Greenstone, 2003. "Air Quality, Infant Mortality, and the Clean Air Act of 1970," Working Papers 0406, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  14. repec:zbw:rwirep:0325 is not listed on IDEAS
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