The Effects of Rural Electrification in India: An Instrumental Variable Approach at the Household Level

90 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2020

See all articles by Daniel Robert Thomas

Daniel Robert Thomas

Columbia University

Harish S.P.

College of William & Mary

Ryan Kennedy

University of Houston - Department of Political Science

Johannes Urpelainen

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Date Written: June 12, 2020

Abstract

Governments in developing countries are investing billions of dollars to increase electricity access in rural areas, but the literature on the impact of these investments has produced mixed results. We leverage a unique characteristic of household electrification policy in Uttar Pradesh, India, whereby only households within 40 meters of an electricity pole are eligible for a legal electrical connection, to estimate the causal impact of electrification using a pre-registered instrumental variable design. With an original survey of 686 households across 120 habitations in the Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh, we find that legal electrification has a positive impact on household expenditures, adult household activities, and ownership and usage of appliances. The results suggest a more optimistic picture about the impact of rural electrification than some previous studies.

Keywords: Rural Electrification, India, Instrumental Variables, Economic Development

Suggested Citation

Thomas, Daniel Robert and S.P., Harish and Kennedy, Ryan and Urpelainen, Johannes, The Effects of Rural Electrification in India: An Instrumental Variable Approach at the Household Level (June 12, 2020). Journal of Development Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3625682 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3625682

Daniel Robert Thomas

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Harish S.P.

College of William & Mary ( email )

Government Dept, College of William & Mary
Post Office Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23186
United States

Ryan Kennedy

University of Houston - Department of Political Science ( email )

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

Johannes Urpelainen (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins SAIS ( email )

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

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