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Electoral cycles in electricity losses in India

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  • Min, Brian
  • Golden, Miriam
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    Abstract

    A third of electricity in India is lost each year, where losses refer to power that is supplied but not billed. Utilizing data from the power corporation of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state, we study the politics of electricity losses. Examining annual data over four decades, we document that UP's electricity losses tend to increase in periods immediately prior to state assembly elections. Drawing upon geographically disaggregated data for the period 2000–09, we observe higher line losses just prior to the 2002 and 2007 state elections. Our analysis shows that the incumbent party was more likely to retain the assembly seat as line losses in the locality increased. We interpret these results as corroboration that political parties deliberately redirect electricity to flat rate and unbilled users in a context of chronically inadequate supply. Political factors appear to affect line losses in ways that technical and economic factors alone cannot explain.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Energy Policy.

    Volume (Year): 65 (2014)
    Issue (Month): C ()
    Pages: 619-625

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:65:y:2014:i:c:p:619-625

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/enpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Line losses; Politics; India;

    References

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    1. Smith, Thomas B., 2004. "Electricity theft: a comparative analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 32(18), pages 2067-2076, December.
    2. BERNARD, Jean-Thomas & GORDON, Stephen & TREMBLAY, Josée, 1995. "Electricity Prices and Elections in Québec," Cahiers de recherche 9501, Université Laval - Département d'économique.
    3. Khemani, Stuti, 2004. "Political cycles in a developing economy: effect of elections in the Indian States," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 125-154, February.
    4. Mukherji, A. & Das, B. & Majumdar, N. & Nayak, N.C. & Sethi, R.R. & Sharma, B.R., 2009. "Metering of agricultural power supply in West Bengal, India: Who gains and who loses?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(12), pages 5530-5539, December.
    5. Rose-Ackerman,Susan, 1999. "Corruption and Government," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521659123, October.
    6. Rose-Ackerman,Susan, 1999. "Corruption and Government," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521632935, October.
    7. Baleiras, Rui Nuno & da Silva Costa, Jose, 2004. "To be or not to be in office again: an empirical test of a local political business cycle rationale," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 20(3), pages 655-671, September.
    8. Nordhaus, William D, 1975. "The Political Business Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 42(2), pages 169-90, April.
    9. Allan Drazen & Marcela Eslava, 2005. "Electoral Manipulation via Expenditure Composition: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 11085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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