Air pollution in general, and indoor air pollution in particular, have been linked to severe, acute ill health. Less attention has been paid to long-term outcomes such as stunting (height for age).
Does reduced air pollution inside the home resulting from burning cleaner fuels affect child development?
Methods and approach
We compare stunting of persons aged under 20 years of age in households with and without clean stoves between 1997 and 2000. Data come from the Indonesian Family Life Survey, a repeat survey that includes over 30,000 respondents. We model relations by regression; correcting for endogeneity (wealth affects both health and choice of stove) and confounders by using instrumental variables.
Using a clean stove leads to a 0.28 standard deviation reduction in stunting. The result is significant and consistent across specifications; the estimate is double the size of estimates that do not address the endogeneity of wealth.
Policy-makers should encourage households to adopt clean stoves and to use clean fuels. Public intervention is especially indicated in rural areas, where many households prefer to use cheaper, but polluting, stoves and fuels.