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Development Effects of Electrification: Evidence from the Topographic Placement of Hydropower Plants in Brazil

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  • Molly Lipscomb
  • A. Mushfiq Mobarak
  • Tania Barham

Abstract

We estimate the development effects of electrification across Brazil over the period 1960-2000. We simulate a time series of hypothetical electricity grids for Brazil for the period 1960-2000 that show how the grid would have evolved had infrastructure investments been made based solely on geography-based cost considerations. Using the model as an instrument, we document large positive effects of electrification on development that are underestimated when one fails to account for endogenous targeting. Broad-based improvement in labor productivity across sectors and regions rather than general equilibrium re-sorting appears to be the likely mechanism by which these development gains are realized. (JEL H54, L94, O11, O13, Q41, Q43)

Suggested Citation

  • Molly Lipscomb & A. Mushfiq Mobarak & Tania Barham, 2013. "Development Effects of Electrification: Evidence from the Topographic Placement of Hydropower Plants in Brazil," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 200-231, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:200-231
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.5.2.200
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q41 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Demand and Supply; Prices
    • Q43 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Energy and the Macroeconomy

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