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Household preferences for cooking fuels and inter-fuel substitutions: Unlocking the modern fuels in the Nepalese household

Joshi, Janak, Bohara, Alok K.
Energy Policy 2017 v.107 pp. 507-523
air pollution, cooking, deforestation, economic costs, education, employment, energy, environmental factors, forest management, forests, fuelwood, household income, households, issues and policy, logit analysis, property rights, public health, public ownership, socioeconomic factors, surveys, Nepal
Different cooking fuels are associated with various economic and environmental challenges such as increased economic costs, indoor air pollution, deforestation, and deterioration of public health. In this study, we assess the impact of various socioeconomic factors in a household's cooking fuel choice and motive for making a transition toward cleaner fuels. This study uses household level cross-sectional data (2011) and pooled data (1996, 2004, and 2011) from the Nepal Living Standard Survey. We use multinomial and binomial logit models for the empirical analysis. The results suggest that along with household income, other social and ecological factors play a critical role in inter-fuel switching decisions. We find that transferring property rights of government-owned forests to the communities encourages households to move towards cleaner cooking fuels. We also find that household head's education, distance to the firewood sources, energy access status and household income are significant factors influencing the households’ fuel choice decisions. The policy implication is that increasing information spillover, involving local communities in forest management, and expanding alternative socioeconomic opportunities such as jobs and modern fuels in the remote regions play a vital role in encouraging the households to move towards cleaner energy sources.