Barriers to Electrification for "Under Grid" Households in Rural Kenya

30 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2014 Last revised: 7 Aug 2014

See all articles by Kenneth Lee

Kenneth Lee

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics

Eric Brewer

University of California, Berkeley

Carson Christiano

University of California, Berkeley

Francis Meyo

Innovations for Poverty Action

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew Podolsky

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS)

Javier Rosa

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS)

Catherine D. Wolfram

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 2014

Abstract

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 600 million people live without electricity. Despite ambitions of governments and donors to invest in rural electrification, decisions about how to extend electricity access are being made in the absence of rigorous evidence. Using a novel dataset of 20,000 geo-tagged structures in rural Western Kenya, we provide descriptive evidence that electrification rates remain very low despite significant investments in grid infrastructure. This pattern holds across time and for both poor and relatively well-off households and businesses. We argue that if governments wish to leverage existing infrastructure and economies of scale, subsidies and new approaches to financing connections are necessary.

Suggested Citation

Lee, Kenneth and Brewer, Eric and Christiano, Carson and Meyo, Francis and Miguel, Edward and Podolsky, Matthew and Rosa, Javier and Wolfram, Catherine D., Barriers to Electrification for "Under Grid" Households in Rural Kenya (July 2014). NBER Working Paper No. w20327, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2472764

Kenneth Lee

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Eric Brewer

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Carson Christiano

University of California, Berkeley ( email )

310 Barrows Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

Francis Meyo

Innovations for Poverty Action

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

Edward Miguel

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Economics ( email )

549 Evans Hall #3880
Berkeley, CA 94720-3880
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Matthew Podolsky

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-1712
United States

Javier Rosa

University of California, Berkeley - Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences (EECS) ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-1712
United States

Catherine D. Wolfram

University of California, Berkeley - Economic Analysis & Policy Group ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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