Economics of household energy transitions: Evidence from the Indian Himalayas

Sep 11, 2017
  • Noon - 1:00 pm
  • Location:
    CAWP Caseroom (Room 2916), Centre for Advanced Wood Processing
    Faculty of Forestry, 2424 Main Mall
    Vancouver, BC

Improved cookstoves allegedly deliver “triple wins” by improving health and environmental quality, and mitigating climate change. Yet recent research casts doubt on their potential for widespread diffusion. Supply-and-promotion intervention induced over half of targeted households to purchase an improved cookstove, with high demand observed for an electric device in particular. Increased adoption also reduced solid-fuel use (worth up to $2 per household-month in emissions savings) and fuel-collection times. This high latent demand among rural households unfortunately remains unserved by existing supply chains in remote settings, as evidenced by the fact that similar technologies are not found in the control group. Research indicated that households in NGO communities were more likely to purchase and use the improved stoves, providing new support for new institutional economics logic that such micro-institutions reduce transaction costs. This lecture will reflect on the misplaced focus on “improved stoves” by international donors (e.g., Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves), and  describe an action research agenda that relies heavily on regional and global networks to learn in a systematic and coordinated manner.