The Gendered Nature of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Stove Adoption and Use in Rural India
Clean cooking fuels promise substantial health benefits for rural households, but almost three billion people continue to rely on traditional biomass for their cooking needs. We explore the role of gender in the adoption of LPG, a clean cooking fuel, in rural India. Given that women are responsible for most households’ cooking needs, we propose that gender inequality is an obstacle to LPG adoption because men may fail to appreciate the full benefits of clean cooking fuels. Using data for 8,563 households from the ACCESS survey, we demonstrate that households where women participate in decison-making are more likely to adopt LPG for cooking than households in which a man is the sole decision-maker. We extend our analytic framework to evaluate the relationship between household characteristics and LPG and firewood use. Access and cylinder costs were both negatively associated with LPG use and while LPG adoption reduced firewood use, fuel stacking remains the norm in study households. This study has implications for future policy designs to increase LPG adoption and use to obtain the multiple benefits of cleaner cooking.