Gender and household energy choice using exogenous switching treatment regression: Evidence from Bhutan uri icon

abstract

  • Female-headed households (FHHs) generally have more constrained access to productive economic resources than male-headed households (MHHs). Question arises as to whether constrained access to productive economic resources of the FHHs also affects their choice and use of clean energy for domestic works. The provision of clean energy is one of the major indicators of economic development. It has implications to human health, mostly for women in developing countries, as they are mainly responsible for firewood collection and cooking. Using nationally representative data from Bhutan, and applying the Exogenous Switching Treatment Effect Regression (ESTER) models estimation procedure, we assessed whether clean energy use behavior differs between MHHs and FHHs. To capture the differences among the FHHs, we classified them into two groups, i.e., de jure FHHs (i.e., a household run by single, widowed, or divorced woman) and de facto FHHs (i.e., a household where the husband is away). Our analysis indicates a significant gender differentiated gap between MHHs and FHHs in terms of clean energy use. As compared to MHHs, clean energy use is significantly lower among the de jure FHHs. De jure FHHs mostly use dirty energy while it is not the case for de facto FHHs. Results demonstrate that the gap between MHHs and de jure FHHs in terms of clean energy, is due to the differences in observable and unobservable characteristics of the households. The clean energy use gap between MHHs and de jure FHHs can be explained by the influence of connection and higher access to off-farm income of MHHs. The findings of this study, thus have important policy implications related to government policy targeting the de jure FHHs for enhancing the use of clean energy.

publication date

  • 2019
  • 2019