Corruption and Theft of Electricity in an Indian State
27 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2011 Last revised: 6 Sep 2011
Date Written: 2011
Utilizing data from the power corporation of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, we study the politics of electricity theft over a ten year period (2000-09). Our preliminary results are that electricity theft is substantial in magnitude but that the extent of theft varies with the electoral cycle of the state. In years when elections to the State Assembly are held, electricity theft is significantly greater than in other years. Most theft is by relatively well-off farmers rather than by industry or ordinary households. In addition, we find that electricity bills are more likely to go unpaid in areas marked by networks of criminals who are politically active. Our interpretation of these various results is that power theft exhibits characteristics consistent with the political capture of public service delivery by local elites.
Keywords: corruption, energy, political capture, India
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