In developing countries, access to modern energy for cooking and heating still remains a challenge to raising households out of poverty. About 2.5 billion people depend on solid fuels such as biomass, wood, charcoal and animal dung. The use of solid fuels has negative outcomes for health, the environment and economic development (Universal Energy Access, UNDP). In low income countries, 1.3 million deaths occur due to indoor smoke or air pollution from burning solid fuels in small, confined and unventilated kitchens or homes. In addition, pollutants such as black carbon, methane and ozone, emitted when burning inefficient fuels, are responsible for a fraction of the climate change and air pollution. There are international efforts to promote the use of clean cookstoves in developing countries but limited evidence on the economic benefits of such distribution programs. This study undertook a systematic economic evaluation of a program that distributed subsidized improved cookstoves to rural households in India. The evaluation examined the effect of different levels of subsidies on the net benefits to the household and to society. This paper answers the question, “Ex post, what are the economic benefits to various stakeholders of a program that distributed subsidized improved cookstoves?” In addressing this question, the evaluation used empirical data from India applied to a cost-benefit model to examine how subsidies affect the costs and the benefits of the biomass improved cookstove and the electric improved cookstove to different stakeholders
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