Electrification and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from Rural India

32 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2019

Date Written: March 28, 2019

Abstract

Electrification has been shown to accelerate opportunities for women by moving them into more productive activities, but whether improvements in economic outcomes also change gender norms and practices within the household remains unclear. This paper investigates the causal link between electricity access and women's empowerment, using a large gender-disaggregated data set on India. Empowerment is measured by women's decision-making ability, mobility, financial autonomy, reproductive freedom, and social participation. Using propensity score matching, the study finds that electrification enhances all measures of women's empowerment and is associated with an 11-percentage point increase in the overall empowerment index. Employment and education are identified as the two most important causal channels through which electrification enables empowerment.

Keywords: Energy Policies & Economics, Gender and Development, Electric Power, Educational Sciences, Health Care Services Industry

Suggested Citation

Samad, Hussain A. and Zhang, Fan, Electrification and Women's Empowerment: Evidence from Rural India (March 28, 2019). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8796. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3362640

Hussain A. Samad (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Fan Zhang

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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