Subjective risk belief function in the field: Evidence from cooking fuel choices and health in India

Hide Fumi Yokoo*, Toshi H. Arimura, Mriduchhanda Chattopadhyay, Hajime Katayama

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the accuracy of the perceptions of health risks in India. The context of our study is the risk of developing physical symptoms related to household air pollution caused by cooking. Using field data collected from 588 respondents in 17 villages in West Bengal, we regress the probability of symptoms on fuel choices to predict respondent-specific health risk changes. The estimated risks, which we treat as objective risks, are then compared with the corresponding subjective probabilistic beliefs, which are elicited by an interactive method with visual aids. Our results show that, on average, the respondents slightly underestimate the change in risk when switching from cooking with firewood to cooking with liquefied petroleum gas, even though their beliefs are qualitatively correct. The results further show that risk misperception is associated only with religion among individuals’ observed characteristics, suggesting that their unobserved characteristics play a substantial role in risk misperception.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103000
JournalJournal of Development Economics
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Mar


  • Belief
  • Cooking fuel choice
  • Health risk
  • India
  • Risk misperception
  • Subjective probabilistic expectation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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