In developing countries, the dependence on traditional biomass for domestic energy consumption is one of the major causes of deforestation and environmental poverty. This paper investigates the impact of women’s education on the probability of using Unsustainable Biomass Cooking Technologies (UBCT) as the household main fuel of cooking instead of clean energy. Combining data from four rounds of Nigeria DHS conducted between 2003 and 2018, we take advantage of a natural experiment, the implementation of Universal Primary Education policies in 1970, to obtain an exogenous variation in women’s education levels. Using an instrumental variable approach to control for the endogeneity issues, we find that women with higher levels of education are less likely to use UBCT as their primary source of cooking. This result implies that environmental policies in developing countries should rely not only on income transfers policies as suggested in the literature but also on increasing women's human capital to reduce women’s dependence on unsustainable biomass cooking practices.
Keywords: Education, Women, Biomass, Cooking, Nigeria.