The SNIS International Geneva Committee has selected Imelda's article "Clean Energy Access: Gender Disparity, Health and Labour Supply" as one of the winners of SNIS IG Award 2023. The award is given to the three best papers published on a subject related to international studies that are especially useful from the perspective of International Organisations.
The article, published in the Economic Journal, sheds light on a successful development program that led to an increase in access to clean energy, resulting in substantial gains both in health and gender dimensions. The paper documents that when women gained access to clean energy, there were notable improvements in their health, leading to increased productivity. Concurrently, men also experienced an increase in work hours, especially in households where women benefited the most.
The paper uses a case study of a clean cooking program in Indonesia. In less than ten years, the policy transformed Indonesia from having the lowest to the highest population with access to clean cooking, offering valuable lessons for other regions striving for universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy by 2030. The reason for this increase is that the Indonesian government initiated a cooking fuel conversion program in that replaced kerosene with liquid petroleum gas (LPG) on a national scale. This program was highly successful in promoting the adoption of clean cooking. As fine particulates emitted from burning LPG are lower than particulates emitted from burning kerosene, therefore replacing kerosene with LPG lowers indoor fine particulates.
It is often challenging to study the impact of technology adoption when the take-up rate is low and the adoption is not sustained for a longer term. However, this study provides a unique example of how a clean energy intervention can lead to a massive and fast transition, subsequently resulting in improved health and labor outcomes—a substantial benefit often not properly quantified in energy-related policy discussions. This example serves as a lesson for many other countries that aim to move towards clean energy.
The announcement of the winning paper is available on SNIS.ch, while the policy article can be accessed on VoxEU.org.