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Thematic session: Electricity and economic development

The adoption of energy access targets as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals has thrust energy to the fore of development policy. Universal access to reliable electricity, in particular, is often viewed as a catalyst for economic growth and development, yet the evidence on the welfare impacts of electrification remains mixed. An incomplete understanding of the microeconomic foundations of the electricity-development relationship is both a significant knowledge gap and a critical policy challenge. The papers in this proposed session bring to bear rigorous quasi-experimental methods creatively applied to both administrative and geospatial datasets to engage with these debates. They focus on two critical areas: employment and enterprise creation, and optimal energy-pricing modalities. As such, they shed light on impacts (of expanding traditional grid infrastructure as well as access to nontraditional off-grid alternatives) while at the same time informing policies that seek to ensure the sustainability of energy-services delivery. 

Organizer(s): Robyn Meeks,

  1. Off-grid in Nepal: Heterogeneity in Electricity Services and Enterprise Development
    Robyn Meeks
  2. Turning on the Lights: State Capacity in Electricity Provisioning
    Meera Mahadevan
  3. Fracking, farmers, and rural electrification in India
    Faraz Usmani