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Fuel choice, indoor air pollution and children's health

  • Edwards, John H. Y.
  • Langpap, Christian

Much of the population in developing countries uses firewood for cooking. The resulting indoor air pollution has severe health consequences for children who are close to the fire while their mothers cook. We use survey data from Guatemala to examine the effects of firewood consumption on the health of children up to five years of age. We also investigate the impact of cooking inside the home, the importance of a mother cooking while caring for her children and the role played by the smoke permeability of housing construction materials. We find that children living in households that use more wood, and where exposure to indoor air pollution is higher because the mother cooks while caring for children or because cooking takes place inside, are more likely to have symptoms of respiratory infection. Simulations indicate that policies that target cooking habits in order to directly reduce exposure, particularly by reducing the number of women who simultaneously cook and care for children, may be more effective for improving young children's health than policies to accelerate the adoption of gas stoves.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Environment and Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 17 (2012)
Issue (Month): 04 (August)
Pages: 379-406

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Handle: RePEc:cup:endeec:v:17:y:2012:i:04:p:379-406_00
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  1. John H. Y. Edwards & Christian Langpap, 2005. "Startup Costs and the Decision to Switch from Firewood to Gas Fuel," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 81(4).
  2. Alderman,Harold & Hoddinott, John & Kinsey, Bill, 2003. "Long-term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," FCND discussion papers 168, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 2003. "Credit Programs for the Poor And the Health Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(1), pages 87-118, February.
  4. Thomas, Duncan & Strauss, John & Henriques, Maria-Helena, 1990. "Child survival, height for age and household characteristics in Brazil," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 197-234, October.
  5. Cebu Study Team, 1992. "A child health production function estimated from longitudinal data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 323-351, April.
  6. Mark M. Pitt & Shahidur R. Khandker & Omar Haider Chowdhury & Daniel L. Millimet, 1998. "Credit Programs for the Poor and the Nutritional Status of Children in Rural Bangladesh," Working Papers 98-4, Brown University, Department of Economics, revised 16 Jan 1998.
  7. Alexander Pfaff & Shubham Chaudhuri & Howard Nye, 2004. "Household Production and Environmental Kuznets Curves – Examining the Desirability and Feasibility of Substitution," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 27(2), pages 187-200, February.
  8. John Strauss & Duncan Thomas, 1998. "Health, Nutrition, and Economic Development," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 36(2), pages 766-817, June.
  9. Dasgupta, Susmita & Huq, Mainul & Khaliquzzaman, M. & Pandey, Kiran & Wheeler, David, 2004. "Indoor air quality for poor families: new evidence from Bangladesh," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3393, The World Bank.
  10. Rasmus Heltberg & Thomas Channing Arndt & Nagothu Udaya Sekhar, 2000. "Fuelwood Consumption and Forest Degradation: A Household Model for Domestic Energy Substitution in Rural India," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 76(2), pages 213-232.
  11. Heltberg, Rasmus, 2005. "Factors determining household fuel choice in Guatemala," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 10(03), pages 337-361, June.
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