Why Do Households Forego High Returns from Technology Adoption
33 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2015
Date Written: August 6, 2014
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 cookstove (ICS) technologies in many cases appear to be an obvious solution. Despite continuous efforts of the international community to disseminate ICS, take up rates in most developing countries are strikingly low. In this paper, we examine the reasons for (non-)adoption of a very simple ICS in urban Burkina Faso. As a first result, we find that ICS users save between 20 and 30 percent of fuels compared to traditional stoves making the investment a very profitable one. Nonetheless, adoption rates are low at a mere 10 percent. It turns out that the major deterrent of adoption are the upfront investment costs – which are much more important than access to information, taste preferences, or the woman’s role in the household. These findings suggest that more direct promotion strategies such as subsidies would help the household to overcome its liquidity constraints and hence improve adoption rates.
Keywords: Household technology adoption; liquidity constraints; weak beliefs; norms and traditions; energy access; Sub-Saharan Africa
JEL Classification: D01, D12, D80, O33, Q56
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation