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Geographic and Socio-Economic Barriers to Rural Electrification: New Evidence from Indian Villages

Energy Policy, Forthcoming

64 Pages Posted: 24 Mar 2017  

Eugenie Dugoua

Columbia University

Ruinan Liu

Columbia University

Johannes Urpelainen

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Date Written: March 22, 2017

Abstract

The International Energy Agency estimates that more than a billion people remain without household electricity access. However, countries such as India have recently made major progress in rural electrification. Who has benefited from these achievements? We focus on 714 villages in six energy-poor states of northern and eastern India to investigate trends in electricity access. We use data both from the 2011 Census of India and an original energy access survey conducted in 2014 and 2015. During the three years that separated the surveys, distance to the nearest town and land area lose their power as predictors of the percentage of households in the village that has access to electricity. In this regard, the Indian government's flagship rural electrification program seems to have managed to overcome a major obstacle to grid extension. On the other hand, socio-economic inequalities between villages related to caste status and household expenditure remain strong predictors. These findings highlight the importance of socio-economic barriers to rural electricity access and alleviate concerns about remoteness and population density as obstacles to grid extension.

Keywords: India, rural electrification, energy poverty, public policy

Suggested Citation

Dugoua, Eugenie and Liu, Ruinan and Urpelainen, Johannes, Geographic and Socio-Economic Barriers to Rural Electrification: New Evidence from Indian Villages (March 22, 2017). Energy Policy, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2939880

Eugenie Dugoua

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Ruinan Liu

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Johannes Urpelainen (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

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