Kerosene Subsidies in India: When Energy Policy Fails as Social Policy

Energy for Sustainable Development, 16 (2012) 35–43

9 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2012

See all articles by Narasimha D. Rao

Narasimha D. Rao

Yale School of the Environment; IIASA

Date Written: 2012

Abstract

Kerosene subsidies intended for Indian households have been known for their poor targeting and high fiscal costs. However, the distributional benefits to the 160 million households that use kerosene are not well understood. In this paper, the kerosene subsidy is formally assessed as an instrument of income redistribution. The subsidy incidence, progressivity and efficacy of the kerosene subsidy are calculated for the state of Maharashtra, under actual and ideal implementation conditions. The analysis shows that kerosene subsidies are regressive and of minimal financial value to poor rural households. This is in part because household quotas are based on cooking needs, but kerosene is used predominantly for lighting. In urban areas, subsidies are progressive, and provide benefits of up to 5 to 10% of household expenditure among poorer households which lack affordable access to LPG and biomass. Overall, only 26% of the total subsidy value directly reaches households. This analysis suggests that subsidies targeted only to kerosene-dependent urban areas would have a higher efficacy than broad-based subsidies.

Keywords: Kerosene, climate change mitigation, India, energy subsidies, distribution

JEL Classification: D1,D3, H1, H3, I3

Suggested Citation

Rao, Narasimha D., Kerosene Subsidies in India: When Energy Policy Fails as Social Policy (2012). Energy for Sustainable Development, 16 (2012) 35–43, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2047018

Narasimha D. Rao (Contact Author)

Yale School of the Environment ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

HOME PAGE: http://environment.yale.edu/profile/rao

IIASA ( email )

Schlossplatz 1
Laxenburg, A-2361
Austria

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
204
Abstract Views
1,158
Rank
277,921
PlumX Metrics