No SDES-2017-6
Title Low-quality or high-quality coal: Household energy choice in rural Beijing
Author Zhang Jingchao, Koji Kotani and Tatsuyoshi Saijo
Abstract Household low-quality coal consumption is a main contributor to air pollution in China. In response, governmental subsidies on high-quality coal and promotion of new-type coal stoves have been implemented. However, to date, little is known about the effectiveness of these policies and determinants of consumption behavior between low-quality and high-quality coals. To fulfill this paucity, we conducted face-to-face surveys with 602 households in rural Beijing and collected the information of coal consumption, socioeconomic, cognitive and psychological factors. With the data, we empirically characterize the determinants of coal consumption and its switching behavior between high-quality and low-quality coals by bivariate probit and Tobit regressions, yielding the following principal results: (1) prosocial people are more likely to consume high-quality coal, and critical thinking disposition positively affects the probability to choose high-quality coal; (2) local environmental concern plays an important role in consumption behavior, but global environmental concern does not; (3) government policies appear to be efficient in that subsidies on high-quality coal reduce the likelihood of choosing low-quality coal and the promotion of new-type coal stoves facilitates the transition from low-quality to high-quality coal. Overall, the results suggest that cognitive, psychological factors and promotion policies can be considered significant in coal consumption behavior. Public education on critical thinking, local environment and prosociality as well as new-type coal stoves should be further promoted to accelerate the transition from low-quality to high-quality coal.
Revised version published in Energy Economics