Econonomics of Energy and Environmental Policy

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Electricity Access, Gender Disparity, and Renewable Energy Adoption Dynamics: The Case of Mountain Areas of Bangladesh

This paper examines the relationship between grid-based electricity access, gender disparity, and renewable energy adoption in the mountain areas of Bangladesh by collecting a novel set of micro-level survey data. We develop unique weighted indices and apply the robust instrumental generalised method of moment estimation for investigating electricity access and women empowerment nexus. The findings indicate that increased electricity access (hours) benefits women's empowerment in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) districts. Using a quasi-experimental framework, we find no evidence that women from grid-connected households enjoy greater gender parity than women from off-grid areas. This is likely due to the increased adoption of renewable energy such as Solar Home System (SHS) and addressing the challenges associated with grid expansion in mountain districts. Using a probabilistic random utility model, we show that a surge in non-food expenditures tends to suppress the adoption of renewable energy in poorer households more than their counterparts, given the high prices and the lack of financial schemes to support the purchase of the renewable device. We argue that the expansion of green financial strategies can advance the outreach of renewable energy in the CHT districts and gender parity aligning with the attainment of sustainable development goals such as cleaner energy access and gender equality.
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Keywords: Women Empowerment, Gender Disparity, Green Energy, Electricity, Green Finance, Mountain, CHT, Bangladesh

DOI: 10.5547/2160-5890.13.1.sami

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Published in Volume 13, Number 1 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.


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