Social Capital and Choice of Clean Cooking and Safe Sanitation in India

Ipsita Das , Duke University

Community cohesion is a collective asset that can have positive externalities, as evidenced in the impact of social networks on various development, health and agricultural outcomes. Their role in facilitating adoption of environmental health (EH) interventions is, however, not well-understood. Using nationally representative household-level panel data from the 2005 and 2012 rounds of the India Human Development Survey (IHDS), I examine whether structural and cognitive social capital enable or limit household adoption of EH technologies. I find strong positive effects of linking and bridging social capital on household choice of clean cooking (i.e. use of non-biomass stove and LPG fuel), but strong negative effects of political participation and bonding social capital on the same. Surprisingly, bonding social capital and social cohesion have strong positive effects on household adoption of toilets. These results vary by geographic location, underscoring the need for governments to leverage different social structures in EH programs.

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 Presented in Session 163. Innovative Application of Demographic Theory to Population-Environment Research