Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #679

Accidents Caused by Kerosene Lamps – New Evidence from African Household Data

by Luciane Lenz, Laura Montenbruck and Maximiliane Sievert

RWI, 02/2017, 16 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-787-8 DOI: 10.4419/86788787



The use of kerosene for lighting, cooking, and heating in developing countries is often considered a major health threat as it can cause accidents like thermal injuries, poisonings, fires or explosions. A number of hospital surveys emphasize this threat but evidence from household data is extremely scarce and mostly outdated. The present paper is one of the first to investigate the link between kerosene-based lighting and accidents at the household level. We use survey data from 3,326 non-electrified households in Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zambia and observe very heterogeneous kerosene lamp usage rates. In some regions, accidents with kerosene lamps occur in a substantial share of the population, but the absolute incidence is rather low.

JEL-Classification: I15, K32, O13

Keywords: Burns; thermal injury; kerosene lamp; traditional lighting; Sub-Sahara Africa