Preferences for Improved Cook Stoves: Evidence from North Indian Villages
Duke Environmental and Energy Economics Working Paper Series No. EE 14-07
28 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 2014
Because emissions from solid fuel burning in traditional stoves affect global climate change, the regional environment, and household health, there is a real fascination with improved cook stoves (ICS). Surprisingly little is known about what households like about these energy products. This paper reports on preferences for ICS attributes in a sample of 2,120 rural households in north India, a global hotspot for biomass fuel use. Households have a strong preference for traditional stoves but on average are willing to pay (WTP) about $10 and $5 for realistic reductions in smoke emissions and fuel needs, respectively, or about half of the price of less expensive ICS. Still, preferences for stove attributes are highly varied and are related to household characteristics (e.g., expenditures, gender of household head, patience, and risk preferences). These results suggest that households exhibit cautious interest in the promise of ICS but that significant barriers to achieving widespread adoption remain. Therefore the policy community must reinvigorate a supply chain that (a) experiments with product attributes and (b) segments the market based on consumer education, wealth, and location in order to scale up ICS distribution and deliver household and global benefits.
Keywords: Air pollution, greenhouse pollutants, preferences, discrete choice, South Asia
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