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Demand for cooking fuels in a developing country. To what extent do taste and preferences matter?

  • Wisdom Akpalu
  • Isaac Dasmani
  • Peter B. Aglobitse

Overreliance on biomass energy, such as firewood and charcoal, for cooking in developing countries has contributed to high rates of deforestation and resulted in substantial indoor pollution which has negatively impacted the health of many individuals. However, the effectiveness of public policies aimed at encouraging households to switch to cleaner fuels, such as liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and kerosene, hinges on the extent to which they are mentally committed to specific fuels. Using data on four cooking fuels (charcoal, firewood, LPG, and kerosene) from the Ghana living standards survey, we found strong evidence that the most preferred fuel is LPG, followed by charcoal, with kerosene the least preferred. In addition, with the exception of kerosene that has price-elastic demand, the price elasticities of demand for the fuel types examined are inelastic. This finding suggests the so-called fuel-ladder is not robust.

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Paper provided by Economic Research Southern Africa in its series Working Papers with number 243.

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Length: 14 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rza:wpaper:243
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  1. Kavi Kumar, K.S. & Viswanathan, Brinda, 2007. "Changing structure of income indoor air pollution relationship in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(11), pages 5496-5504, November.
  2. Masera, Omar R. & Saatkamp, Barbara D. & Kammen, Daniel M., 2000. "From Linear Fuel Switching to Multiple Cooking Strategies: A Critique and Alternative to the Energy Ladder Model," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 28(12), pages 2083-2103, December.
  3. Davis, Mark, 1998. "Rural household energy consumption : The effects of access to electricity--evidence from South Africa," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 207-217, February.
  4. Robert Gillingham & David Locke Newhouse & David Coady & Kangni Kpodar & Moataz El-Said & Paulo A. Medas, 2006. "The Magnitude and Distribution of Fuel Subsidies; Evidence From Bolivia, Ghana, Jordan, Mali, and Sri Lanka," IMF Working Papers 06/247, International Monetary Fund.
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  6. Gundimeda, Haripriya & Kohlin, Gunnar, 2008. "Fuel demand elasticities for energy and environmental policies: Indian sample survey evidence," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 517-546, March.
  7. Campbell, B. M. & Vermeulen, S. J. & Mangono, J. J. & Mabugu, R., 2003. "The energy transition in action: urban domestic fuel choices in a changing Zimbabwe," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(6), pages 553-562, May.
  8. Zein-Elabdin, Eiman O., 1997. "Improved stoves in Sub-Saharan Africa: the case of the Sudan," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 465-475, October.
  9. Ouedraogo, Boukary, 2006. "Household energy preferences for cooking in urban Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(18), pages 3787-3795, December.
  10. K. K. Lancaster, 2010. "A New Approach to Consumer Theory," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1385, David K. Levine.
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