Why Do Households Forego High Returns from Technology Adoption: Evidence from Improved Cooking Stoves in Burkina Faso
30 Pages Posted: 6 Jun 2015
Date Written: June 4, 2015
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 cooking stove (ICS) technologies appear to be an obvious solution in many cases. In spite of great efforts made by the international community to disseminate ICSs, 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 need between 20 and 30 percent less firewood compared to traditional stoves, making the investment a very profitable one. Nonetheless, adoption rates are a mere 10 percent. The major deterrent to adoption is 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 households to overcome liquidity constraints, and would hence improve adoption rates.
Keywords: Household technology adoption, liquidity constraints, weak beliefs, traditions, energy access, Sub-Saharan Africa.
JEL Classification: D01, D12, D80, O33, Q56.
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