Seeing Through the Smoke: Measuring Impacts of Improved Cookstove Interventions on Technology Adoption and Environmental and Health Outcomes

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Traditional cooking using biomass is associated with adverse health consequences, local environmental degradation, and regional climate change. Improved stoves (ICS; liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), biogas, electric, efficient biomass) are heralded as a solution, but their adoption and use remains low. In the first chapter, I report on a series of pilot programs that utilized the marketing mix principles of promotion, product, price and place to increase stove sales in rural Inia. We found that when given a choice amongst products, households strongly preferred an electric stove over improved biomass-burning options. Households clearly identified price as a significant barrier to adoption, while provision of discounts (e.g., rebates given if households used the stove) or payments in installments were related to higher purchase. Collectively, these pilots point to the importance of continued and extensive testing of messages, pricing models, and responses to different stove types prior to scale-up. Thus, a one-size-fits-all approach will be unlikely to boost ICS adoption.

In the second and third chapters, I analyze the impact of mainly improved stove use on social, environmental, and health outcomes in rural India- first in a sample of biogas stove users in Odisha, India, and next with households in the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand. In both settings, ICS use was associated with reduced use of firewood, substantial time savings for primary cooks, and significant reduction in exposure to particulate matter and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in household air. I find that ICS users in Odisha spend reduced time in the hospital with acute respiratory infection and reduced diastolic blood pressure, but no relationship with other health measurements.

In the third chapter, I also find significant reduction in exposure to personal air pollution. Using temperature sensors as objective stove use monitors for all stoves and heaters we find that households underreport use of improved and traditional stoves.

These papers provide encouraging evidence of potential for adoption of clean stove and a suite of benefits from clean stove use; however, in order to achieve recommended levels of air pollution additional policies may be needed.






Lewis, Jessica (2015). Seeing Through the Smoke: Measuring Impacts of Improved Cookstove Interventions on Technology Adoption and Environmental and Health Outcomes. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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