NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Gender Differences in Preferences, Intra-Household Externalities, and Low Demand for Improved Cookstoves

Grant Miller, A. Mushfiq Mobarak

NBER Working Paper No. 18964
Issued in April 2013
NBER Program(s):   CH   DEV   EEE   HC   HE

This paper examines whether an intra-household externality prevents adoption of a technology with substantial implications for population health and the environment: improved cookstoves. Motivated by a model of intra-household decision-making, the experiment markets stoves to husbands or wives in turn at randomly varying prices. We find that women – who bear disproportionate cooking costs – have stronger preference for healthier stoves, but lack the authority to make purchases. Our findings suggest that if women cannot make independent choices about household resource use, public policy may not be able to exploit gender differences in preferences to promote technology adoption absent broader social change.

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