Susanna Berkouwer ~ Rocca Dissertation Research ~ AY 2019/2020

Fellowship Period: 
Academic Year
Fellowship Year: 
Project/Theme Title: 
Behavioral and market determinants of energy consumption in Kenya
Abstract: 
We quantify behavioral biases and market frictions affecting poor households’ adoption of energy efficient durables in the context of charcoal cookstoves in Nairobi. Over 80% of Nairobi households depend on charcoal, spending up to 25% of the budget on cooking fuels. While a substantial literature studies how behavioral anomalies contribute to the energy efficiency gap in the US, little work exists in a development setting. In low-income environments, biases could be exacerbated by stress associated with poverty; or, because poverty makes large, durable purchases high-stakes, poorer individuals might make decisions more carefully. We study how inattention to future savings, concentration bias, and present bias interact with credit constraints to cause under-adoption in this context. This will be the first paper to quantify the energy efficiency gap, identify the mechanisms driving it, and it will do so in a high-stakes development setting.
Award Duration: 
AY 2019/2020