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Who Benefits Most from Rural Electrification? Evidence in India

This paper applies an econometric analysis to estimate the average and distribution benefits of rural electrification using rich household survey data from India. The results support that rural electrification helps reduce time allocated to fuel wood collection by household members and increases time allocated to studying by boys and girls. Rural electrification also increases labor supply of men and women, schooling of boys and girls, household per capita income and expenditure. Electrification also helps reduce poverty. But the larger share of benefits accrues to wealthier rural households, with poorer ones having a more limited use of electricity. The analysis also shows that restricted supply of electricity, due to frequent power outages, negatively affects both household electricity connection and its consumption, thereby reducing the expected benefits of rural electrification. Keywords: Rural electrification, Electrification impacts, Distributional impacts, India

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DOI: 10.5547/01956574.35.2.4

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Published in Volume 35, Number 2 of The Quarterly Journal of the IAEE's Energy Economics Education Foundation.