Fuel Choices in Rural Maharashtra
Traditional biomass remains a large source of energy in developing countries, particular in rural areas. Use of biomass can contribute to deforestation and hence climate change as well as indoor air pollution. Therefore, significant efforts have been made to improve the efficiency with which it is used and to reduce particulate emissions through the adoption of improved stoves and to transition households to modern energy carriers. We report on and analyze the results of an energy use survey in two tribal villages in rural Maharashtra, India. Though there is significant heterogeneity between the effects of the variables in the two villages there are some robust results. We find modest evidence for the 'energy ladder' hypothesis and that use of higher quality energy sources reduces total energy use ceteris paribus. Income elasticities of fuel demand are small. Additionally, we demonstrate that household size, stove ownership, and season influence rural energy choices. However, the effects of improved stoves are small and not consistent across the villages.
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