Can economic incentives enhance adoption and use of a household energy technology? Evidence from a pilot study in Cambodia

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While much work has examined approaches to increase uptake of a variety of household environmental, health and energy technologies, researchers and policymakers alike have struggled to ensure long-term use. Drawing on a pilot-scale experiment conducted in rural Cambodia, this study evaluates whether economic incentives enhance continued use of—and fuel savings from—improved cookstoves (ICS). Capital-cost subsidies that have been traditionally employed to enhance ICS adoption were augmented with rebates linked to stated and objectively measured use in order to investigate impacts on both initial and sustained adoption in the treatment group. Results show that households do respond to these rebates by adopting the intervention ICS at significantly higher rates, and by using it more frequently and for longer periods. Consistent with these stove-use patterns, solid-fuel use and time spent collecting or preparing fuels also decline. However, this effect appears to diminish over time. Thus, while economic inducements may significantly increase adoption and use of new environmental health technologies, corresponding reductions in environmental or livelihood burdens are not guaranteed. Additional research on the design and implementation of incentive-based interventions targeting households directly—such as carbon financing or other forms of results-based financing (RBF) for improved cookstoves—therefore seems warranted prior to wider implementation of such solutions.






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Usmani, F, J Steele and M Jeuland (2017). Can economic incentives enhance adoption and use of a household energy technology? Evidence from a pilot study in Cambodia. Environmental Research Letters, 12(3). 10.1088/1748-9326/aa6008 Retrieved from

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Marc A. Jeuland

Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy

Marc Jeuland is a Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy, with a joint appointment in the Duke Global Health Institute. His research interests include nonmarket valuation, water and sanitation, environmental health, energy poverty and transitions, trans-boundary water resource planning and management, and the impacts and economics of climate change. 

Jeuland's recent research includes work to understand the economic implications of climate change for water resources projects on transboundary river systems, a range of primary data collection projects related to analysis of adoption of environmental health improving technology, and analysis of the costs and benefits of environmental health interventions in developing countries. He has conducted multiple field experiments on issues such as: the role of water quality information in affecting household water and hygiene behaviors; the demand for, and impacts of cleaner cookstoves on household well-being; the long-term sustainability and effects of rural sanitation and water supply projects. He has also collected data on preferences for a range of environmental health improvements including cholera vaccines, household water treatment technologies and improved cookstoves. In the energy and development domain, he is currently working on several projects with the Energy Access Project at Duke, and is a co-founder of the Sustainable Energy Transitions Initiative (SETI), along with Professor Subhrendu Pattanayak and scholars from Chile, China and Ethiopia. His energy portfolio includes work related to evaluation of cleaner cooking interventions, measuring energy access and reliability, and reviews of the drivers and impacts literature related to energy. 

Jeuland has worked in the past with the World Bank, USAID, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, UNICEF, and many field-based NGOs and community-based implementing organizations.

Prior to his graduate studies and work with the World Bank, Jeuland was a Peace Corps volunteer in Mali, West Africa, where he designed and monitored construction of a pilot wastewater treatment system and trained management personnel at the plant’s managing firm.

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