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Drivers behind energy consumption by rural households in Shanxi

Mette Wik, Taoyuan Wei, Kristine Korneliussen, Rui Zhang, Solveig Glomsrød, Qinghua Shi

Biomass is widely used by households for cooking and heating in rural China. Along with rapid economic growth over the last three decades, increasing rural households tend to use less biomass and more commercial energy such as coal and electricity. In this paper, we analyzed the key drivers behind energy consumption and switching by rural households based on survey data of energy consumption by rural households in ten villages of Shanxi province in China. Our econometric results show that income growth can induce less use of biomass and more use of coal and modern fuels. However, no evidence shows that even wealthy households has abandoned biomass use in Shanxi, mainly due to the “free” access to land and agricultural resources in these villages. Previous wealth of a household represented by house value can lead to more time spent on biomass collection. Access to land resources has positive effects on biomass use and collection. Other key variables include education, household size, the number of elderly members, and coal price. We also find huge differences between villages, indicating the importance of access to agricultural resources and markets.

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