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Is electrification welfare improving?: non-experimental evidence from rural Bhutan

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  • Kumar, Santosh
  • Rauniyar, Ganesh

Abstract

This paper investigates the income and educational impacts of a large village-based electrification program in rural Bhutan. We designed and administered a household and village-level socio-economic survey in the electrified and non-electrified villages and collected data on wide range of developmental outcomes. Using Propensity Score Matching (PSM) and propensity-based weighted regression, we find that access to electricity improved economic and educational outcomes. While access to electricity increased non-farm income by 60-70%, and it had no significant effect on farm-income. Since non- farm income consists of a small percentage of total household income, the impact should be considered modest and not large. We also nd that children in electrified households have 0.75 additional years of schooling, an increase of about 24%. Additionally, amount of evening study time at home is 10 minutes more for the children in the treated households compared to untreated households. We employed different matching algorithms and our results are consistent and robust to all matching estimator. Our study contributes to the few studies on infrastructure literature which has often been focused on transport, telecom, and water projects. Given the limited use of electricity for income-generating activities in Bhutan, investments in other complementary infrastructure, such as, markets, roads, information technology, credit may help the households to realize the full benefits of electrification.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 31482.

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Date of creation: 20 Feb 2011
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:31482

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Keywords: Rural Electrification; Development Effectiveness; Asian Development Bank; Impct Evaluation; South-east Asia; Bhutan.;

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  1. Binswanger, Hans P. & Khandker, Shahidur R & Rosenzweig, Mark R., 1989. "How infrastructure and financial institutions affect agricultural output and investment in India," Policy Research Working Paper Series 163, The World Bank.
  2. Juan Jose Diaz & Sudhanshu Handa, 2006. "An Assessment of Propensity Score Matching as a Nonexperimental Impact Estimator: Evidence from Mexico’s PROGRESA Program," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 41(2).
  3. Sascha O. Becker & Andrea Ichino, 2002. "Estimation of average treatment effects based on propensity scores," Stata Journal, StataCorp LP, StataCorp LP, vol. 2(4), pages 358-377, November.
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  5. Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 2003. "Does Matching Overcome Lalonde's Critique of Nonexperimental Estimators?," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity 20035, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  6. Khandker, Shahidur R. & Barnes, Douglas F. & Samad, Hussain & Minh, Nguyen Huu, 2009. "Welfare impacts of rural electrification : evidence from Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5057, The World Bank.
  7. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
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  10. Heckman, James J & Ichimura, Hidehiko & Todd, Petra, 1998. "Matching as an Econometric Evaluation Estimator," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(2), pages 261-94, April.
  11. Nazmul Chaudhury & Jeffrey Hammer & Michael Kremer & Karthik Muralidharan & F. Halsey Rogers, 2006. "Missing in Action: Teacher and Health Worker Absence in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(1), pages 91-116, Winter.
  12. Barham, Tania & Lipscomb, Molly & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2011. "Development Effects of Electrification: Evidence from the Geologic Placement of Hydropower Plants in Brazil," CEPR Discussion Papers, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers 8427, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. James Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Jeffrey Smith & Petra Todd, 1998. "Characterizing Selection Bias Using Experimental Data," NBER Working Papers 6699, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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