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Economics of Modern and Traditional Bioenergy in African Households: Consumer Choices for Cook Stoves

This article describes a model developed to identify the characteristics of cook stoves and how they are used that help determine consumer choices, with the goal of increasing the take-up of clean stoves.

Francis X. Johnson, Takeshi Takama / Published on 30 December 2011

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Johnson, F.X., and T. Takama (2012). Economics of Modern and Traditional Bioenergy in African Households: Consumer Choices for Cook Stoves. Bioenergy for Sustainable Development in Africa (R. Janssen and D. Rutz, eds.), 375-388. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands.

The overwhelming majority of African households use traditional biomass in the form of wood-fuel or charcoal to meet their daily cooking needs. Modern options such as LPG or ethanol can provide considerable benefits for health and environment. The case of ethanol is interesting as a renewable source with lower GHG emissions and also having the potential to be a locally produced resource.

The purchase cost of such stoves is considerably higher whilst the fuel costs will generally be lower. Previous research on household adoption of new cook stoves has tended to focus on demographic or socio-economic factors such as education and income in trying to explain consumer choice. Such variables change only slowly and thus generally cannot support rapid introduction of improved stoves.

A discrete choice model was developed aimed at focusing more on the characteristics of the cook stoves themselves and the way in which they are used, which are referred to as “product-specific” attributes. The methodology is outlined here followed by a brief summary of the model applications in three countries: Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania. This approach could improve the understanding of the underlying economic issues and thereby contribute to better design of cook stove programmes and help stimulate a market transformation towards cleaner and more efficient cook stoves.

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Download the SEI research report:  Will African Consumers Buy Cleaner Fuels and Stoves?

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SEI authors

Francis X. Johnson
Francis X. Johnson

Senior Research Fellow

SEI Asia

Profile picture of Takeshi Takama
Takeshi Takama

SEI Affiliated Researcher

SEI Asia

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