Deforestation and Energy Poverty: Longitudinal Evidence from Malawi

Contact: Yu Wu, Postdoc at UNC Chapel Hill

This study examines the role of deforestation as a determinant of fuel choice in Malawi, which is one of the poorest countries in Africa and where more than 90% of the population rely on biomass fuels for cooking. Specifically, we explore do both access to wood and access to market affect households fuel choice, and to what extent do patterns differ between urban and rural areas. We draw data from 3 waves of household panel surveys from the Living Standards Households Studies Program and 16 years’ of remotely sensed data on tree cover loss from Global Forest Change. We test the influence of deforestation on fuel choice by modeling household level fuel use decisions over 6-year span on approximately nationally representative 1100 households. Our preliminary results suggest that the effects of tree cover on fuel use differ between rural and urban areas. Specifically, tree cover in 5km buffers in rural communities has a significantly positive effect on use of firewood as the primary source of cooking fuel, and on collected firewood, but is negatively related to purchased firewood and charcoal expenditure. We also find when controlling for the effect of biomass availability, the further from the urban center (market), the less likely households rely on purchased fuel.



LPG Use and Respiratory Outcomes in Gabon

Contact: Daniel Han, PhD student at UNC Chapel Hill

The study analyzes how LPG compares to other fuel sources in terms of respiratory outcomes in Gabon, drawing data from the Demographic and Health Survey. We consider the respiratory consequences of using liquified petroleum gas (LPG) as a household cooking fuel compared to more traditional solid biomass fuels like wood and charcoal for children under five. This study’s context is Gabon, where its oil reserves and a policy to achieve nationwide LPG access by 2025 have created an opportunity to study


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