Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #697

Firewood, Smoke and Respiratory Diseases in Developing Countries - the Neglected Role of Outdoor Cooking

by Jörg Langbein

RWI, 06/2017, 35 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-811-0 DOI: 10.4419/86788811



Smoke from cooking in the kitchen is one of the world’s leading causes of premature child death, claiming the lives of 500,000 children under five annually. This study analyses the role of outdoor cooking and the prevalence of respiratory diseases among children under five years by means of probit regressions using information from 41 surveys conducted in 30 developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America. I find that outdoor cooking reduces respiratory diseases among young children aged 0-4 by around 9 percent, an effect that reaches 13 percent among children aged 0-1. The results suggest that simple behavioral interventions, such as promoting outdoor cooking, can have a substantial impact on health hazards.

JEL-Classification: Q53, I12, O13

Keywords: Air pollution; health behavior; energy access