IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Acceleration of rural households’ conversion to cleaner cooking fuels: The importance and mechanisms of peer effects


  • Wen, Hong-xing
  • Wang, Chan
  • Nie, Pu-yan


This study investigated the existence of peer effects in the diffusion of clean cooking fuels among rural households in China and identified the mechanisms by which these peer effects were enacted from the perspective of social networks. We observed greater adoption of clean cooking fuels in areas in which adoption was already relatively high, however, this peer spill-over decreased over time and was regulated by the accessibility and strength of social networks. Specifically, if a household's social circle was more extensive or its communication with neighbours, relatives, and friends was closer, its choice of a clean cooking fuel was more likely to be affected by its peer groups. To stimulate stronger peer spill-over, we suggest that interventions such as strengthening social interactions across rural households should be included in the government's strategy to help more households convert to cleaner cooking fuels.

Suggested Citation

  • Wen, Hong-xing & Wang, Chan & Nie, Pu-yan, 2021. "Acceleration of rural households’ conversion to cleaner cooking fuels: The importance and mechanisms of peer effects," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:154:y:2021:i:c:s0301421521001701
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112301

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL:
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David I Levine & Theresa Beltramo & Garrick Blalock & Carolyn Cotterman & Andrew M Simons, 2018. "What Impedes Efficient Adoption of Products? Evidence from Randomized Sales Offers for Fuel-Efficient Cookstoves in Uganda," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 16(6), pages 1850-1880.
    2. Shahidur R. Khandker, Hussain A. Samad, Rubaba Ali, and Douglas F. Barnes, 2014. "Who Benefits Most from Rural Electrification? Evidence in India," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    3. Ian Ayres & Sophie Raseman & Alice Shih, 2013. "Evidence from Two Large Field Experiments that Peer Comparison Feedback Can Reduce Residential Energy Usage," The Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(5), pages 992-1022, October.
    4. Jaime Torres, Mónica M. & Carlsson, Fredrik, 2018. "Direct and spillover effects of a social information campaign on residential water-savings," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 92(C), pages 222-243.
    5. ITO Koichiro & IDA Takanori & TANAKA Makoto, 2015. "The Persistence of Moral Suasion and Economic Incentives: Field experimental evidence from energy demand," Discussion papers 15014, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    6. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas, 2004. "Network structure and the diffusion of knowledge," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 28(8), pages 1557-1575, June.
    7. Srinivasan, Suchita & Carattini, Stefano, 2020. "Adding fuel to fire? Social spillovers in the adoption of LPG in India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).
    8. Michael Fritsch & Martina Kauffeld-Monz, 2010. "The impact of network structure on knowledge transfer: an application of social network analysis in the context of regional innovation networks," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 44(1), pages 21-38, February.
    9. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9-10), pages 1082-1095, October.
    10. Daniel Eisenberg & Ezra Golberstein & Janis L. Whitlock & Marilyn F. Downs, 2013. "Social Contagion Of Mental Health: Evidence From College Roommates," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(8), pages 965-986, August.
    11. Alexandra Ioanid & Mihai Svasta & Maria Hermel-Stanescu, 2014. "The importance of social networks? weak ties in business development," Proceedings of International Academic Conferences 0802404, International Institute of Social and Economic Sciences.
    12. Leonardo Bursztyn & Florian Ederer & Bruno Ferman & Noam Yuchtman, 2014. "Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Peer Effects: Evidence From a Field Experiment on Financial Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82(4), pages 1273-1301, July.
    13. Hallsworth, Michael & List, John A. & Metcalfe, Robert D. & Vlaev, Ivo, 2017. "The behavioralist as tax collector: Using natural field experiments to enhance tax compliance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 14-31.
    14. Duflo, Esther & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "Participation and investment decisions in a retirement plan: the influence of colleagues' choices," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(1), pages 121-148, July.
    15. Marcello Graziano & Kenneth Gillingham, 2015. "Spatial patterns of solar photovoltaic system adoption: The influence of neighbors and the built environment," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(4), pages 815-839.
    16. Jurui Zhang & Yong Liu & Yubo Chen, 2015. "Social Learning in Networks of Friends versus Strangers," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 34(4), pages 573-589, July.
    17. Fowler, J.H. & Christakis, N.A., 2008. "Estimating peer effects on health in social networks: A response to Cohen-Cole and Fletcher; and Trogdon, Nonnemaker, and Pais," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 1400-1405, September.
    18. Paul J. Ferraro & Michael K. Price, 2013. "Using Nonpecuniary Strategies to Influence Behavior: Evidence from a Large-Scale Field Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 95(1), pages 64-73, March.
    19. Miah, Md. Danesh & Kabir, Rashel Rana Mohammad Sirajul & Koike, Masao & Akther, Shalina & Yong Shin, Man, 2010. "Rural household energy consumption pattern in the disregarded villages of Bangladesh," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 997-1003, February.
    20. Powell, Lisa M. & Tauras, John A. & Ross, Hana, 2005. "The importance of peer effects, cigarette prices and tobacco control policies for youth smoking behavior," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(5), pages 950-968, September.
    21. Angrist, Joshua D., 2014. "The perils of peer effects," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 98-108.
    22. Stephen P. Borgatti & Rob Cross, 2003. "A Relational View of Information Seeking and Learning in Social Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 49(4), pages 432-445, April.
    23. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(3), pages 531-542.
    24. Jonathan Guryan & Kory Kroft & Matthew J. Notowidigdo, 2009. "Peer Effects in the Workplace: Evidence from Random Groupings in Professional Golf Tournaments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(4), pages 34-68, October.
    25. Bryan Bollinger & Kenneth Gillingham, 2012. "Peer Effects in the Diffusion of Solar Photovoltaic Panels," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 31(6), pages 900-912, November.
    26. Wang, Ge & Zhang, Qi & Li, Yan & Li, Hailong, 2018. "Policy simulation for promoting residential PV considering anecdotal information exchanges based on social network modelling," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 223(C), pages 1-10.
    27. Ma, Wanglin & Zhou, Xiaoshi & Renwick, Alan, 2019. "Impact of off-farm income on household energy expenditures in China: Implications for rural energy transition," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 127(C), pages 248-258.
    28. Noll, Daniel & Dawes, Colleen & Rai, Varun, 2014. "Solar Community Organizations and active peer effects in the adoption of residential PV," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 67(C), pages 330-343.
    29. Allcott, Hunt, 2011. "Social norms and energy conservation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(9), pages 1082-1095.
    30. Bruce A. Weinberg & Patricia B. Reagan & Jeffrey J. Yankow, 2004. "Do Neighborhoods Affect Hours Worked? Evidence from Longitudinal Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 891-924, October.
    31. Krishna Prasad Pant, 2007. "Valuing Interventions to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution Fuelwood, Deforestation, and Health in Rural Nepal," The Pakistan Development Review, Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, vol. 46(4), pages 1169-1187.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Nie, Pu-yan & Wang, Chan & Wen, Hong-xing, 2021. "Horizontal mergers under uniform resource constraints," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    2. Hou, Bingdong & Wu, Jingwen & Mi, Zhifu & Ma, Chunbo & Shi, Xunpeng & Liao, Hua, 2022. "Cooking fuel types and the health effects: A field study in China," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Bonan, Jacopo & Battiston, Pietro & Bleck, Jaimie & LeMay-Boucher, Philippe & Pareglio, Stefano & Sarr, Bassirou & Tavoni, Massimo, 2021. "Social interaction and technology adoption: Experimental evidence from improved cookstoves in Mali," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    2. Pinar Yildirim & Yanhao Wei & Christophe Bulte & Joy Lu, 2020. "Social network design for inducing effort," Quantitative Marketing and Economics (QME), Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 381-417, December.
    3. Leonardo Bursztyn & Robert Jensen, 2017. "Social Image and Economic Behavior in the Field: Identifying, Understanding, and Shaping Social Pressure," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 9(1), pages 131-153, September.
    4. Joseph,George & Ayling,Sophie Charlotte Emi & Miquel-Florensa,Pepita & Bejarano,Hernán D. & Cardona,Alejandra Quevedo, 2021. "Behavioral Insights in Infrastructure Sectors : A Survey," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9704, The World Bank.
    5. Alexandra E. Hill & Jesse Burkhardt, 2021. "Peers in the Field: The Role of Ability and Gender in Peer Effects among Agricultural Workers," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 103(3), pages 790-811, May.
    6. Céline Nauges & Dale Whittington, 2019. "Social Norms Information Treatments in the Municipal Water Supply Sector: Some New Insights on Benefits and Costs," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 5(03), pages 1-40, July.
    7. Szabó, Andrea & Ujhelyi, Gergely, 2015. "Reducing nonpayment for public utilities: Experimental evidence from South Africa," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 117(C), pages 20-31.
    8. Todd D. Gerarden & Richard G. Newell & Robert N. Stavins, 2017. "Assessing the Energy-Efficiency Gap," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 55(4), pages 1486-1525, December.
    9. Tonke, Sebastian, 2020. "Imperfect Procedural Knowledge: Evidence from a Field Experiment to Encourage Water Conservation," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224536, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Dur, Robert & Fleming, Dimitry & van Garderen, Marten & van Lent, Max, 2021. "A social norm nudge to save more: A field experiment at a retail bank," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 200(C).
    11. Ukasha Ramli, 2021. "Social Norms Based Eco-Feedback for Household Water Consumption," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(5), pages 1-13, March.
    12. John A. List & Robert D. Metcalfe & Michael K. Price & Florian Rundhammer, 2017. "Harnessing Policy Complementarities to Conserve Energy: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment," Experimental Economics Center Working Paper Series 2017-05, Experimental Economics Center, Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University.
    13. Morrison, Geoffrey M. & Lin Lawell, C.-Y. Cynthia, 2016. "Driving in force: The influence of workplace peers on commuting decisions on U.S. military bases," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 22-40.
    14. Andor, Mark A. & Gerster, Andreas & Peters, Jörg & Schmidt, Christoph M., 2020. "Social Norms and Energy Conservation Beyond the US," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 103(C).
    15. Astrid Dannenberg & Gunnar Gutsche & Marlene Batzke & Sven Christens & Daniel Engler & Fabian Mankat & Sophia Moeller & Eva Weingaertner & Andreas Ernst & Marcel Lumkowsky & Georg von Wangenheim & Ger, 2022. "The effects of norms on environmental behavior," MAGKS Papers on Economics 202219, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).
    16. Dannenberg, Astrid & Diekert, Florian & Händel, Philipp, 2022. "The effects of social information and luck on risk behavior of small-scale fishers at Lake Victoria," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 90(C).
    17. Yijie Wang & Lei Xie & Shuang Li, 2022. "The Use of Intergroup Social Comparison in Promoting Water Conservation: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in China," IJERPH, MDPI, vol. 19(13), pages 1-14, June.
    18. Bonan, Jacopo & Cattaneo, Cristina & d’Adda, Giovanna & Tavoni, Massimo, 2021. "Can social information programs be more effective? The role of environmental identity for energy conservation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 108(C).
    19. Czajkowski, Mikołaj & Zagórska, Katarzyna & Hanley, Nick, 2019. "Social norm nudging and preferences for household recycling," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    20. Srinivasan, Suchita & Carattini, Stefano, 2020. "Adding fuel to fire? Social spillovers in the adoption of LPG in India," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:154:y:2021:i:c:s0301421521001701. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.