Designing and Evaluating Behavior Change Interventions to Improve the Adoption and Use of Improved Cookstoves

Last registered on November 21, 2023


Trial Information

General Information

Designing and Evaluating Behavior Change Interventions to Improve the Adoption and Use of Improved Cookstoves
Initial registration date
October 09, 2018

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
October 09, 2018, 2:02 PM EDT

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.

Last updated
November 21, 2023, 4:43 AM EST

Last updated is the most recent time when changes to the trial's registration were published.



Primary Investigator

Duke University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Duke University

Additional Trial Information

Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Improved cookstoves (ICS) have the potential to deliver the triple dividends of household health and time savings, local environmental quality improvements, and reduced impacts on climate. However, despite clear scientific evidence on the potential efficacy of these innovations, these technologies have run into important translation challenges that have impeded their widespread diffusion and dissemination. Our project – Designing and Evaluating Behavior Change Interventions to Improve the Adoption and Use of Improved Cookstoves – was developed in response to a refrain of calls for applied research to develop a more refined understanding of the nature of these challenges. The logic underlying our research approach (described in greater detail below) stemmed from a perceived need to better understand the complex web of issues that constitute barriers to adoption of ICS and similar technologies (Pattanayak and Pfaff 2009), through careful background research and field preparation, followed by a study design that would enable rigorous hypothesis testing of supply and demand barriers to ICS adoption.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Jeuland, Marc and Subhrendu Pattanayak. 2023. "Designing and Evaluating Behavior Change Interventions to Improve the Adoption and Use of Improved Cookstoves." AEA RCT Registry. November 21.
Former Citation
Jeuland, Marc and Subhrendu Pattanayak. 2023. "Designing and Evaluating Behavior Change Interventions to Improve the Adoption and Use of Improved Cookstoves." AEA RCT Registry. November 21.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details


A stove promotion intervention was implemented and randomized at the hamlet level; all sample households living in treatment communities
were visited by sales teams working for a local NGO; households living in control communities were not. Following careful field piloting of potential promotion techniques (Lewis et al., 10 2015), trained sales people working in teams of two visited treatment households and conducted intensive promotion activities with them. First, these teams presented treatment households with an information sheet and explanation of the stove features for the two available options (an electric coil stove and a biomass-burning improved cook stove), even as they performed a live tea-making demonstration. Second, once the demonstration was complete, the sales people proposed a financing plan to households: All households were given the choice of paying for the stoves upfront or in three equal installments (including a modest fi nancing fee of INR 60 or 80, depending on the stove) that would be collected over a period of three installments spread over four weeks.
Third, households were assigned a randomized rebate to be given at the time of the final payment if they were found to be using the stoves (as observed during unannounced visits). Those paying for stoves upfront were also eligible for the rebate and thus were also revisited roughly one month later. Prior to households indicating whether they would purchase a stove, this household-level randomized rebate was revealed by drawing a chit out of a bag. The bags contained equal numbers of chits corresponding to the three potential rebate levels, low - INR 25 (a 2.5% discount), medium - INR 200 (a 20% discount), and high - equivalent to a full installment (a 33% discount). Sales prices prior to the rebate corresponded to the stove-specifi c prices paid to suppliers.
On the basis of power calculations and our estimation of the differential treatment effects expected from the alternative rebate levels, 71 of the baseline hamlets (corresponding to 770 of the 1,061 baseline households) were randomly assigned to the treatment group, and the remaining 26 sample hamlets served as controls, that did not receive any visits from the stove promotion teams.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Purchase of improved cookstoves (overall and by technology), and use of improved cookstoves.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Not applicable

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Impacts of intervention and stove adoption on solid fuel consumption, cooking time, collection time, and self-reported health.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
Baseline surveys followed by intervention and then short-term follow-up surveys, in a sample of 1061 households living in 98 hamlets.
Hamlet-level randomization of intervention to 71 hamlets (with 27 hamlets as controls): Supply of stoves during sales visits, basic demand promotion (information and demonstrations), and financing option for purchase of stoves.
Household-level randomization of rebates delivered to households conditional on observed use of stoves.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Hamlet-level randomization done in an office on a computer; household level randomization achieved in the field by draw from a bag.
Randomization Unit
Sales intervention: Hamlet level
Rebates: Household level
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
97 hamlets.
Sample size: planned number of observations
1061 households
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
71 clusters assigned to treatment, 27 to control
Among treatment households (n=770), one third expected in each rebate group.
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Duke University IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number


Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Intervention Completion Date
October 31, 2013, 12:00 +00:00
Data Collection Complete
Data Collection Completion Date
March 31, 2015, 12:00 +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
97 hamlets; 71 treated.
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
1061 households
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
97 hamlets; 71 treated.
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
Public Data URL

Program Files

Program Files
Program Files URL
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Improved cookstoves (ICS) can deliver “triple wins” by improving household health, local environments, and global climate. Yet their potential is in doubt because of low and slow diffusion, likely because of constraints imposed by differences in culture, geography, institutions, and missing markets. We offer insights about this challenge based on a multiyear, multiphase study with nearly 1,000 households in the Indian Himalayas. In phase I, we combined desk reviews, simulations, and focus groups to diagnose barriers to ICS adoption. In phase II, we implemented a set of pilots to simulate a mature market and designed an intervention that upgraded the supply chain (combining marketing and home delivery), provided rebates and financing to lower income and liquidity constraints, and allowed households a choice among ICS. In phase III, we used findings from these pilots to implement a field experiment to rigorously test whether this combination of upgraded supply and demand promotion stimulates adoption. The experiment showed that, compared with zero purchase in control villages, over half of intervention households bought an ICS, although demand was highly price-sensitive. Demand was at least twice as high for electric stoves relative to biomass ICS. Even among households that received a negligible price discount, the upgraded supply chain alone induced a 28 percentage-point increase in ICS ownership. Although the bundled intervention is resource-intensive, the full costs are lower than the social benefits of ICS promotion. Our findings suggest that market analysis, robust supply chains, and price discounts are critical for ICS diffusion.
Pattanayak, S. K., Jeuland, M., Lewis, J. J., Usmani, F., Brooks, N., Bhojvaid, V., ... & Ramanathan, V. (2019). Experimental evidence on promotion of electric and improved biomass cookstoves. Proceedings of the national Academy of Sciences, 116(27), 13282-13287.
Preference heterogeneity can influence behavior in economically significant ways, thereby influencing the effectiveness of environmental policies or interventions. We test this hypothesis in the context of efficient cooking technology in India. We use stated preference methods to first characterize household tastes for various features of a more efficient cooking technology. We then relate these typically unobserved preferences to households’ adoption decisions during an experiment that allowed them to choose between two alternatives with different features. Stated preferences help predict actual adoption: households initially classified as uninterested are less likely to purchase and use any new technology, while relative distaste for pollution is linked to selection of a cleaner technology. Because of this influence on adoption behaviors, preference heterogeneity has important implications for how environmental policies can impact various health and development outcomes.
Jeuland, M., Pattanayak, S. K., Tan Soo, J. S., & Usmani, F. (2020). Preferences and the effectiveness of behavior-change interventions: Evidence from adoption of improved cookstoves in India. Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 7(2), 305-343.
Programs implemented by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are often more effective than comparable efforts by other actors, yet relatively little is known about how implementer identity drives final outcomes. By combining a stratified field experiment in India with a tripledifferences estimation strategy, we show that a local development NGO's prior engagement with target communities increases the effectiveness of a technology-promotion program implemented in these areas by at least 30 percent. This “NGO reputation effect” has implications for the generalizability and scalability of evidence from experimental research conducted with local implementation partners.
Usmani, F., Jeuland, M., & Pattanayak, S. K. (2022). NGOs and the effectiveness of interventions. Review of Economics and Statistics, 1-45.

Reports & Other Materials