Does Electrification Spur the Fertility Transition? Evidence from Indonesia

50 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014

See all articles by Michael Grimm

Michael Grimm

Erasmus University Rotterdam; University of Passau; IZA; DIW Berlin

Robert A. Sparrow

Wageningen UR - Development Economics Group; Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Institute of Social Studies (ISS); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Luca Tasciotti

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Abstract

We analyse various pathways through which access to electricity affects fertility, using a pseudo-panel of Indonesian districts covering the period 1993-2010. Identification of causal effects relies on a district-fixed effects approach and controlling for local economic development. The electrification rate increased by about 65 percent over the study period and our results suggest that the subsequent effects on fertility account for about 18 to 24 percent of the overall decline in the fertility rate, depending on the specification. A key channel through which electrification affects fertility is increased exposure to TV, explaining about a quarter of the total fertility effect. Using in addition several waves of Demographic and Health Surveys, we find suggestive evidence that increased exposure to TV affects in particular fertility preferences and increases the effective use of contraception. Reduced child mortality seems to be another important pathway linking access to electricity and fertility. We find no evidence that changes to direct and indirect costs of children play a role. Overall, the results suggest that electrification contributes substantially to the fertility decline. In a context in which family planning policy still plays an important role this second order effect should be taken into account in cost benefit analyses of publicly funded grid expansion policies.

Keywords: fertility, fertility transition, electrification, family planning, television, infrastructure, child mortality

JEL Classification: H43, H54, J13, J22, O18, Q40

Suggested Citation

Grimm, Michael and Sparrow, Robert A. and Tasciotti, Luca, Does Electrification Spur the Fertility Transition? Evidence from Indonesia. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8146. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432430

Michael Grimm (Contact Author)

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IZA ( email )

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DIW Berlin ( email )

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Robert A. Sparrow

Wageningen UR - Development Economics Group ( email )

Hollandseweg 1
WAGENINGEN, 6706 KN
Netherlands

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) - Institute of Social Studies (ISS) ( email )

PO Box 29776
Den Haag, 2518 AX
Netherlands

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Luca Tasciotti

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

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