The intensive margin of technology adoption--Experimental evidence on improved cooking stoves in rural Senegal

J Health Econ. 2015 Jul:42:44-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2015.03.006. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


Today, almost 3 billion people in developing countries rely on biomass as primary cooking fuel, with profound negative implications for their well-being. Improved biomass cooking stoves are alleged to counteract these adverse effects. This paper evaluates take-up and impacts of low-cost improved stoves through a randomized controlled trial. The randomized stove is primarily designed to curb firewood consumption, but not smoke emissions. Nonetheless, we find considerable effects not only on firewood consumption, but also on smoke exposure and, consequently, smoke-related disease symptoms. The reduced smoke exposure results from behavioural changes in terms of increased outside cooking and a reduction in cooking time. We conclude that in order to assess the effectiveness of a technology-oriented intervention, it is critical to not only account for the incidence of technology adoption - the extensive margin - but also for the way the new technology is used - the intensive margin.

Keywords: Biomass fuel; Development economics; Energy access; Household air pollution; Technology adoption.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cooking / instrumentation*
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Rural Population*
  • Senegal