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Determinants of the Behavioral Lock-in of Rural Residents’ Direct Biomass Energy Consumption in China

Hongyun Han () and Shu Wu ()
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Hongyun Han: Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
Shu Wu: Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, School of Public Affairs, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China

Sustainability, 2019, vol. 11, issue 2, 1-25

Abstract: The transition from traditional to modern energy is widely accepted as a critical facilitator of improved health, social, and livelihood outcomes, but over three quarters of China’s rural population are still persisting with traditional energy practices. Using panel data on 28 provinces during 1991–2014, this paper investigates how institutional pressure, status quo inertia, and the allure of power and control affect rural residents’ direct biomass energy consumption (RRDBEC) in China. The empirical results show that: (1) the institutional pressure of the number of staff in rural energy administrative agencies facilitates the lock-in of RRDBEC, but government funding on rural energy development has an opposite impact; (2) status quo inertia, depicted by the lagged term of planting proportion of grain and the expenditure proportion of meat, is verified to lock RRDBEC; (3) the allure of power and control, depicted by the lagged term of ownership of firewood-saving stoves, strengthens the lock-in of RRDBEC; (4) income level, education level, and dependency ratio are verified as significant and negative determinants of RRDBEC, while fuel prices lock RRDBEC. Therefore, the policy implications include transforming the functions of rural energy administrative agencies, increasing government funds, carrying out public education of health and environment awareness, and providing economic incentives.

Keywords: Behavioral lock-in; institutional pressure; status quo inertia; allure of power and control; rural residents’ direct biomass energy consumption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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