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Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina Faso

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  • Bensch, Gunther
  • Grimm, Michael
  • Peters, Jörg

Abstract

Around 3 billion people in developing countries rely on woodfuels for their daily cooking needs with profound negative implications for their workload, health, and budget as well as the environment. Improved cooking stove (ICS) technologies appear to be an obvious solution in many cases. Indeed we find that users of a very simple ICS in urban Burkina Faso need between 20 and 30 percent less firewood compared to traditional stoves, making the investment highly profitable. In spite of these high returns and great efforts made by the international community to disseminate ICSs, take-up rates are – similar to many other high-return innovations – strikingly low; in our case a mere 10 percent. When exploring adoption decisions of households, we find suggestive evidence that a major deterrent to adoption is the upfront investment costs. They seem to be much more important than access to information, taste preferences, or the woman's role in the household. These findings suggest that perhaps more direct promotion strategies such as subsidies would help households to overcome liquidity constraints, and would hence improve adoption rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Bensch, Gunther & Grimm, Michael & Peters, Jörg, 2015. "Why do households forego high returns from technology adoption? Evidence from improved cooking stoves in Burkina Faso," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 187-205.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:116:y:2015:i:c:p:187-205
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2015.04.023
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    1. repec:eee:agisys:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:164-178 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:11:p:4322-:d:184447 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Bensch, Gunther & Peters, Jörg, 2017. "One-off subsidies and long-run adoption: Experimental evidence on improved cooking stoves in Senegal," Ruhr Economic Papers 685, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    4. repec:pal:eurjdr:v:30:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1057_s41287-017-0078-3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:wdevel:v:116:y:2019:i:c:p:66-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:enepol:v:130:y:2019:i:c:p:361-374 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. repec:eee:socmed:v:183:y:2017:i:c:p:1-10 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:eee:jeborg:v:143:y:2017:i:c:p:98-115 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. repec:kap:enreec:v:73:y:2019:i:4:d:10.1007_s10640-018-0290-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Bensch, Gunther & Grimm, Michael & Huppertz, Maximilian & Langbein, Jörg & Peters, Jörg, 2018. "Are promotion programs needed to establish off-grid solar energy markets? Evidence from rural Burkina Faso," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 90(C), pages 1060-1068.
    11. repec:eee:resene:v:52:y:2018:i:c:p:173-185 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Langbein, Jörg & Peters, Jörg & Vance, Colin, 2017. "Outdoor cooking prevalence in developing countries and its implication for clean cooking policies," Ruhr Economic Papers 680, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    13. Grimm, Michael & Lenz, Luciane & Peters, Jörg & Sievert, Maximiliane, 2016. "Demand for Off-Grid Solar Electricity: Experimental Evidence from Rwanda," IZA Discussion Papers 10427, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Bensch, Gunther & Peters, Jörg, 2016. "Enablers of strong cookstove sales through a purchase offer approach in rural Senegal: An explorative analysis," Ruhr Economic Papers 650, RWI - Leibniz-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, University of Duisburg-Essen.
    15. Kibrom A. Abay & Guush Berhane & Garrick Blalock, 2018. "Locus of Control and Technology Adoption in Africa: Evidence from Ethiopia," Working Papers PMMA 2018-04, PEP-PMMA.
    16. repec:eee:enepol:v:121:y:2018:i:c:p:275-285 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Jeuland, M.A. & Bhojvaid, V. & Kar, A. & Lewis, J.J. & Patange, O. & Pattanayak, S.K. & Ramanathan, N. & Rehman, I.H. & Tan Soo, J.S. & Ramanathan, V., 2015. "Preferences for improved cook stoves: Evidence from rural villages in north India," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 52(PB), pages 287-298.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Household technology adoption; Liquidity constraints; Weak beliefs; Traditions; Energy access; Sub-Saharan Africa;

    JEL classification:

    • D01 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Behavior: Underlying Principles
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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