The Gender Division of Labor, Indoor Air Pollution and Adult and Child Health

Mark M. Pitt, Brown University
Mark Rosenzweig, Harvard University
Nazmul Hassan, Dhaka University

In rural Bangladesh, biomass fuel provides more than 90 percent of household energy so that indoor air pollution (IAP) is a serious health problem. If exposure to IAP is greatest in areas where combustion occurs, primarily the kitchen, IAP will mostly affect the women who cook and the children whom they supervise. Using a 2000-2003 survey of 1638 rural households with information on detailed person-specific time allocation, we investigate the extent to which the division of household responsibilities, household structure, and the dimensions and location of kitchen facilities, causally affect the health of women and children. We estimate a number of different statistical models that take into account the possibility that time allocation may be endogenous. We exploit as identification restrictions both allocative norms and biological relationships. The results suggest that proximity to stoves adversely affects the respiratory health of women and the young children they supervise.

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Presented in Session 132: Gender and Health in Developing Countries