Does Providing Improved Biomass Cooking Stoves Free-of-Charge Reduce Regular Usage? Do Use Incentives Promote Habits?

Randall A. Bluffstone, Abebe D. Beyene, Zenebe Gebreegziabher, Peter Martinsson, Alemu Mekonnen and Ferdinand Vieider


This article uses a field experiment to evaluate effects of monetary treatments on usage intensity of an important improved biomass-burning cookstove promoted in Ethiopia. Understanding whether, how much and why improved stoves are used are important, because use frequency critically determines fuelwood savings and related benefits. We find that distributing stoves free-ofcharge is at least as effective for promoting short-run adoption as requiring payments or offering usage incentives. Free distribution is most effective at promoting both high and increasing levels of longer-run regular use. First period incentives do not better promote usage habits compared with the other two treatments.


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