Fuelling the Engines of Liberation with Cleaner Cooking Fuel
Using the staggered roll-out of the Indonesian Conversion to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Programme, we show that a subsidy for the labour- and time-saving cooking technology increased female labour force participation. The programme also increased household consumption expenditure and the decision-making power of women in the household, especially in financial matters. A back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that the benefits of switching to LPG far outweighed the costs to the households. Based on previous research, we conjecture that intra-household externalities and gender differences in preferences drive the low rates of adoption of cost-effective technology. The programme’s impact on the financial decision-making power of women suggests that subsidies which empower women, even if temporary, can encourage the adoption and sustained use of beneficial technology.