The Need for Impact Evaluation in Electricity Access Research

Energy Policy, 2019

32 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2019

See all articles by Patrick Bayer

Patrick Bayer

University of Strathclyde - Department of Government

Ryan Kennedy

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

Joonseok Yang

Sungkyunkwan University; University of California, Irvine

Johannes Urpelainen

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Date Written: November 8, 2019

Abstract

Universal household electrification is a key component of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but the evidence base for social and economic impacts of electricity access remains unclear. Here we report results from a systematic review of impact evaluations of household electrification. We only find 31 studies that conduct statistical hypothesis tests to assess impacts. Among these, seven draw on a randomized experiment designed for causal inference. The randomized experimental studies generate fewer positive results than observational or quasi-experimental studies, such as correlational, instrumental variable, and difference-in-differences designs. These results call for a reassessment of what we know about the impacts of household electrification. They also call for major investment in impact evaluation of electricity access using randomized controlled trials, with a particular focus on when and how energy access interventions can furnish large benefits to their intended beneficiaries. Large-scale impact evaluations using experimental methods will require close collaboration between policymakers and researchers.

Keywords: impact evaluation, electricity access, observational and experimental methods, causal inference, sustainable development

Suggested Citation

Bayer, Patrick and Kennedy, Ryan and Yang, Joonseok and Urpelainen, Johannes, The Need for Impact Evaluation in Electricity Access Research (November 8, 2019). Energy Policy, 2019, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3483755

Patrick Bayer

University of Strathclyde - Department of Government ( email )

Glasgow G1 1XU
United Kingdom

Ryan Kennedy

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

TX 77204-3011
United States
713-743-1663 (Phone)
713-743-3890 (Fax)

Joonseok Yang

Sungkyunkwan University ( email )

53 Myeongnyun-dong 3-ga Jongno-ju
Guro-gu
Seoul, 110-745
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

University of California, Irvine ( email )

Social Science Plaza A 4124, University of Califor
Irvine, CA 92617
United States
3478820109 (Phone)

Johannes Urpelainen (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

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

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