WEAI/AERE 2009 - Individual Paper Abstract
Title: Measuring Health Benefits from Interventions to Reduce Indoor Air Pollution in Rural China
Author(s): Fei YU, Colby College
For developing countries, indoor air pollution (IAP) from cooking and heating stoves is a serious health risk factor and is considered a major cause of acute respiratory infections (ARI). According to a comprehensive survey conducted by the World Health Organization in 2000, ARI is the fifth most important cause of mortality in China. Potentially, interventions to reduce IAP, such as new stove technologies and health education, should lead to significant health benefits.
This paper analyzes the empirical evidence from a recently completed World Bank project in China, where 5,500 rural households in four provinces were subject to different combinations of improved stoves and behavioral changes to reduce IAP exposure. An extensive set of data derived from the project for three groups of households: those subject both to new stove technologies and health education/behavioral changes; those subject only to health education/behavioral changes; and the control groups where no interventions were conducted.
The objective was to determine the relative effectiveness of new stove technologies versus health education/behavioral changes, or the combination thereof, in reducing the incidence of ARI in the study households. The outcome variables were before-and-after differences between the control and intervention groups respecting pollution concentrations and the incidence of ARI among children under five. Both fixed effects models and difference-indifference matching estimators were used in the analysis.
For the project households, there is significant evidence that the interventions were effective in reducing indoor pollution levels, and in reducing ARI risks among children under five years of age. Cost benefit analysis shows that both the combination of stove and behavioral interventions and behavioral interventions alone generate health benefits far exceeding the costs. Behavioral interventions alone appear to be more cost effective.