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The Causal Impact of Solid Fuel Use on Mortality: A Cross-Country Panel Analysis


  • Muhammad Irfan

    (University of Waikato)

  • Michael P. Cameron

    (University of Waikato)

  • Gazi Hassan

    (University of Waikato)


In this paper, we examine the relationship between biomass fuel consumption and measures of life expectancy and infant and child mortality. We hypothesize that solid fuel consumption at the country-level causes higher infant and child mortality, and lower male and female life expectancy at birth. Importantly our empirical strategy, using 13 years of cross-country panel data covering 101 countries at all levels of development over the period 2000-2012, allows us to obtain the causal impacts of solid fuel use on health outcomes. To obtain causal estimates, we use as instruments the proportion of the land area that is forested, and the total quantities of country-level oil and gas production. All three instruments are strong and plausibly exogenous to the determination of mortality at the country level. In our preferred instrumental variable specification, we find that solid fuel combustion causes increases in child mortality and decreases in male and female life expectancy. Our findings have important policy implications and suggest that governments, particularly of developing and middle-income countries, should focus efforts to reduce solid fuel use and encourage cleaner fuel use, in order to improve the health and well-being of their populations.

Suggested Citation

  • Muhammad Irfan & Michael P. Cameron & Gazi Hassan, 2018. "The Causal Impact of Solid Fuel Use on Mortality: A Cross-Country Panel Analysis," Working Papers in Economics 18/11, University of Waikato.
  • Handle: RePEc:wai:econwp:18/11

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    6. Ezzati, Majid & Kammen, Daniel, 2002. "The Health Impacts of Exposure to Indoor Air Pollution from Solid Fuels in Developing Countries: Knowledge, Gaps, and Data Needs," Discussion Papers dp-02-24, Resources For the Future.
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    More about this item


    solid fuels; indoor air pollution; child mortality; life expectancy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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