Poverty and firewood consumption: A case study of rural households in northern China
This paper discusses the determinants of firewood consumption in a poor township in rural northern China, with a special focus on the relationship between households' economic wealth and firewood consumption. We find strong support for the poverty–environment hypothesis since household economic wealth is a significant and negative determinant of firewood consumption. Firewood can therefore be considered as an inferior good for the whole population in the rural area under study, although further evidence shows that at the top of the wealth distribution, there might be a floor effect in the decreasing firewood consumption. Besides economic wealth, our analysis also shows that the own-price effect is important in explaining firewood consumption behavior, the price effect gaining importance with rising incomes. Finally, increasing education is also found to be a key factor in energy consumption behavior, especially when dealing with energy source switching behavior.
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