Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #325

A Recipe for Success? Randomized Free Distribution of Improved Cooking Stoves in Senegal

by Gunther Bensch and Jörg Peters

RWI, 03/2012, 38 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-374-0 DOI: 10.4419/86788374



Today more than 2.7 billion people rely on biomass as their primary cooking fuel, with profound implications for the environment and people’s well-being. Wood provision is often time-consuming and the emitted smoke has severe health effects – both burdens that afflict women in particular. The dissemination of Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) is frequently considered an eff ective remedy for these problems. This paper evaluates the take-up of ICS and their impacts through a randomized controlled trial in rural Senegal. Although distributed for free, the ICS are used by almost 100 % of households. Furthermore, we find substantial effects on firewood consumption, eye infections, and respiratory disease symptoms. These findings substantiate the increasing efforts of the international community to improve access to improved cooking stoves and call for a more direct promotion of these stoves.

JEL-Classification: C93, D12, O13, Q41

Keywords: Impact evaluation; randomized controlled trial; respiratory disease symptoms; energy access