Background: The global focus on improved cookstoves (ICSs) and clean fuels has increased because of their potential for delivering triple dividends: household health, local environmental quality, and regional climate benefits. However, ICS and clean fuel dissemination programs have met with low rates of adoption.
Objectives: We reviewed empirical studies on ICSs and fuel choice to describe the literature, examine determinants of fuel and stove choice, and identify knowledge gaps.
Methods: We conducted a systematic review of the literature on the adoption of ICSs or cleaner fuels by households in developing countries. Results are synthesized through a simple vote-counting meta-analysis.
Results: We identified 32 research studies that reported 146 separate regression analyses of ICS adoption (11 analyses) or fuel choice (135 analyses) from Asia (60%), Africa (27%), and Latin America (19%). Most studies apply multivariate regression methods to consider 7–13 determinants of choice. Income, education, and urban location were positively associated with adoption in most but not all studies. However, the influence of fuel availability and prices, household size and composition, and sex is unclear. Potentially important drivers such as credit, supply-chain strengthening, and social marketing have been ignored.
Conclusions: Adoption studies of ICSs or clean energy are scarce, scattered, and of differential quality, even though global distribution programs are quickly expanding. Future research should examine an expanded set of contextual variables to improve implementation of stove programs that can realize the “win-win-win” of health, local environmental quality, and climate associated with these technologies.