Short-term Impacts of Solar Lanterns on Child Health: Experimental Evidence from Bangladesh

Discussion Papers

No.646

by Yuya KUDO, Abu S. SHONCHOY, Kazushi TAKAHASHI

March 2017

ABSTRACT

We implemented a 16-month randomized field experiment in unelectrified areas of Bangladesh to identify health impacts of solar lanterns among school-aged children. Our analysis of various health-related indicators—self-reporting, spirometers, and professional medical checkups—showed modest improvements in eye redness and irritation but no noticeable improvement in respiratory symptoms among treated students. Varying the number of solar products received within treatment households did not alter these results. This limited health benefit was not caused by nonutilization of the products by treated children, spillover effects from treated to control students, or treatment heterogeneity resulting from unfavorable family cooking environments.

Keywords: Clean energy, indoor air pollution, randomized control trials, solar light
JEL classification: I15, O13, Q42

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