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The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa

  • Taryn Dinkelman

This paper estimates the impact of electrification on employment growth by analyzing South Africa's mass roll-out of electricity to rural households. Using several new data sources and two different identification strategies (an instrumental variables strategy and a fixed effects approach), I find that electrification significantly raises female employment within five years. This new infrastructure appears to increase hours of work for men and women, while reducing female wages and increasing male earnings. Several pieces of evidence suggest that household electrification raises employment by releasing women from home production and enabling microenterprises. Migration behavior may also be affected. (JEL H54, L94, L98, O15, O18, R23)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.7.3078
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 7 (December)
Pages: 3078-3108

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:7:p:3078-3108
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  1. Victoria Hosegood & Anne Case & Cally Ardington, 2009. "Labor Supply Responses to Large Social Transfers: Longitudinal Evidence from South Africa," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 1(1), pages 22-48, January.
  2. Matias Cattaneo & Sebastian Galiani & Paul Gertler & Sebastian Martinez & Rocio Titiunik, 2008. "Housing, Health and Happiness," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0074, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  3. Martha J. Bailey & William J. Collins, 2009. "Did Improvements in Household Technology Cause the Baby Boom? Evidence from Electrification, Appliance Diffusion, and the Amish," NBER Working Papers 14641, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Fedderke, J.W. & Bogetic, Z., 2009. "Infrastructure and Growth in South Africa: Direct and Indirect Productivity Impacts of 19 Infrastructure Measures," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(9), pages 1522-1539, September.
  5. Nunn, Nathan & Puga, Diego, 2007. "Ruggedness: The Blessing of Bad Geography in Africa," CEPR Discussion Papers 6253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Steven Lugauer & Alexis Leon & Daniele Coen-Pirani, 2008. "The Effect of Household Appliances on Female Labor Force Participation: Evidence from Micro Data," 2008 Meeting Papers 541, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  7. Akee, Randall K. Q., 2006. "The Babeldaob Road: The Impact of Road Construction on Rural Labor Force Outcomes in the Republic of Palau," IZA Discussion Papers 2452, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Abhijit Banerjee & Sebastian Galiani & Jim Levinsohn & Zoë McLaren & Ingrid Woolard, 2007. "Why Has Unemployment Risen in the New South Africa," NBER Working Papers 13167, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David Aschauer, 1988. "Is public expenditure productive?," Staff Memoranda 88-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Michael Lokshin & Ruslan Yemtsov, 2005. "Has Rural Infrastructure Rehabilitation in Georgia Helped the Poor?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 19(2), pages 311-333.
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