Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Papers,
Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics

No 6-2020: Flickering Lifelines: Electrification and Household Welfare in India

Ashish Kumar Sedai (), Rabindra Nepal () and Tooraj Jamasb ()
Additional contact information
Ashish Kumar Sedai: Department of Economics, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, USA
Rabindra Nepal: Department of Economics, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia
Tooraj Jamasb: Department of Economics, Copenhagen Business School, Postal: Copenhagen Business School, Department of Economics, Porcelaenshaven 16 A. 1. floor, DK-2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark

Abstract: Access to reliable energy is central to improvements in living standards and is a Sustainable Development Goal. This study moves beyond counting the electrified households and examines the effect of the hours of electricity households receives on their welfare. We hypothesize that additional hours of electricity have different effects on the poor, the middle income and the rich, as well as in rural and urban areas. The methods used are panel fixed effects instrumental variables, cross sectional fixed effects instrumental variables, and logistic regression with data from the Indian Human Development Survey 2005-2012. We focus on extensive and the intensity margins, i.e. how access and additional hours of electricity affect household welfare in terms of consumption expenditure, income, assets and poverty status. The results show large gaps between the benefits and costs of electricity supply among consumer groups. We also find that electricity theft is positively correlated with the net returns from electrification. Progressive pricing with targeted subsidies for the poor can increase household welfare while reducing the financial losses of the State Electricity Boards.

Keywords: Reliable energy; Electrification; Household welfare; Panel fixed effects; Instrumental variables approach

JEL-codes: D12; D31; E21; I32

34 pages, March 26, 2020

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