Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College

Department of Economics

Committee Chair

Dr. Katrina Mullan

Commitee Members

Dr. Katrina Mullan, Dr. Matthew Taylor, Dr. Erin Semmens


public health, indoor air pollution, randomized trial, household behavior


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Behavioral Economics | Economics | Health Economics


Using panel data from a randomized placebo-controlled trial of a wood stove changeout and air filter interventions, this study addresses the role of behavior in the efficacy of air quality interventions. The effectiveness of an intervention in improving air quality depends on how households respond to and use them. Two important responses are whether the target population complies with the requirements of the intervention and whether users adjust other behaviors that can affect air quality.

This paper’s results are consistent with prior studies in finding that in the absence of interventions, a number of behaviors can affect indoor air pollution, and that the air filter, but not the wood stove changeout intervention, improved air quality. This paper looks at whether the intervention a home receives impacts its behavior, and whether the air quality outcomes for those who change behavior in response to the interventions differ from those who do not. There is not enough evidence to conclude that household response varied by treatment assignment. However, I did find that the filter was associated with significant reductions in pollution among homes that worsened behavior and among homes that did not. Another important finding was that among homes that reported constant or improving wood-burning practices, and among homes that kept the devices running, the placebo filter was effective in reducing pollution levels. I also find that among homes that report constant or improving wood-burning practices, the placebo filter was also effective in pollution reduction.



© Copyright 2017 Madison J. Cole