Gender Differences in Preferences, Intra-Household Externalities, and Low Demand for Improved Cookstoves
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.
We thank the Woods Institute for the Environment and the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, the National Science Foundation, the DFID/LSE/Oxford International Growth Centre, the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (Grant Number K01 HD053504), and the Yale Climate and Energy Initiative for support. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.