While the health and environmental benefits of adopting clean cooking fuel are widely documented in the literature, the immediate and direct benefit—women’s time-saving for fuel collection/preparation and cooking—has received little or no attention. Using panel data from 6 energy-poor Indian states involving about 9000 households, we test whether liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) adoption enhances women’s welfare by reducing fuel collection/preparation and cooking time and improving the overall cooking experience through a convenient and efficient cooking arrangement. We also explore the association between women’s participation in decision-making and the likelihood of LPG adoption and refill. The findings reveal that LPG adopters save time by collecting firewood less frequently and preparing fewer pieces of dung cake than non-adopters. Additionally, LPG adopters save 15 min of cooking time per day than non-adopters. Finally, LPG adoption makes the cooking experience more convenient and simpler than traditional cooking fuel. Women’s sole or joint decision-making power is positively correlated with LPG adoption and refilling LPG cylinders. These findings imply that the true social benefit of clean cooking fuel adoption is much greater than the welfare gain accrued through greenhouse gas mitigation and health benefits from cleaner air. However, these positive externalities are less likely to be internalized in fuel choice decisions in households where women do not participate in important household decision-making.
|Publication status||Published - 2022|