This paper uses a randomized experimental design and real-time electronic stove use monitors to evaluate the frequency with which villagers use improved biomass-burning Mirt injera cookstoves in rural Ethiopia. Understanding whether, how much, and why improved cookstoves are used is important, because use of the improved stove is a critical determinant of indoor air pollution reductions, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions due to lower fuelwood consumption. Confirming use is, for example, a critical aspect of crediting improved cookstoves’ climate change benefits under the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programme. The paper finds that Ethiopian households in the study area do use the Mirt stove on a regular basis, taking into account regional differences in cooking patterns. In general, stove users also use their Mirt stoves more frequently over time. Giving the Mirt stove away for free and supporting community-level user networks are estimated to lead to more use. The study found no evidence, however, that stove recipients use the stoves more if they have to pay for them, a hypothesis that frequently arises in policy arenas and has also been examined in the literature.
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