A Breath of Fresh Air: Raising Awareness for Clean Fuel Adoption EconomicsInternational DevelopmentPre-Results AcceptancesPublic Health
Farzana Afridi Sisir Debnath E. Somanathan
Air pollution is amongst the gravest public health concerns worldwide and indoor sources are the largest contributors in many developing countries. Attempts to persuade hoseholds to use more efficient solid-fuel cooking stoves have been mostly unsuccessful in reducing air pollution. We build on a new, nation-wide program in India that has provided access to liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) for cooking to more than 70 million households but is yet to induce consistent use of LPG in place of polluting solid fuels. In our study in central India, we randomly assign villages to a campaign carried out by rural public health workers to inform households about the adverse health effects of inhaling smoke from solid fuels. In a second treatment arm, we combine health information with a break-down of the financial implications of the existing public subsidy to LPF consumers. We then analyze the take-up and usage of LPG (as well as other outcomes) by households in the health, and health plus subsidy awareness treatments relative to the control group of villages in which the campaign was no initiated. Our findings carry implications for public policy aimed at behavioral changes that can reduce air pollution.