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Do Utility Subsidies Reach the Poor? Framework and Evidence for Cape Verde, Sao Tome, and Rwanda

  • Diego Angel-Urdinola

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Quentin Wodon

    ()

    (World Bank)

This article provides a simple framework to analyze the determinants of targeting performance of utility tariffs and applies it to data on electricity in Cape Verde, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe. While most indicators of benefit incidence are silent as of why subsidies are targeted the way they are (they only give an idea as to whether they reach the poor or not and to what extent), we develop a simple decomposition that allows analyzing both “access” and “subsidy-design” factors that influence the targeting performance of subsidies. Our findings suggest that consumption subsidies for electricity in Cape Verde, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe are regressive in large part due to access factors that prevent the poor from using the services. We then conduct simulations to quantify how much targeting performance could be enhanced by changing tariff-structures as well as subsidizing connections instead of consumption.

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File URL: http://www.accessecon.com/pubs/EB/2007/Volume9/EB-06I30004A.pdf
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Article provided by AccessEcon in its journal Economics Bulletin.

Volume (Year): 9 (2007)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages: 1-7

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Handle: RePEc:ebl:ecbull:eb-06i30004
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  1. Quentin Wodon & Shlomo Yitzhaki, 2002. "Evaluating the Impact of Government Programs on Social Welfare: The Role of Targeting and the Allocation Rules Among Program Beneficiaries," Public Finance Review, , vol. 30(2), pages 102-123, March.
  2. Kristin Komives & Vivien Foster & Jonathan Halpern & Quentin Wodon & Roohi Abdullah, 2008. "Water, Electricity, and the Poor : Who Benefits from Utility Subsidies?," World Bank Other Operational Studies 11745, The World Bank.
  3. Angel-Urdinola, Diego & Cosgrove-Davies, Malcolm & Wodon, Quentin, 2006. "Rwanda: Electricity Tariff Reform," MPRA Paper 9044, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  4. AndrÈs GÛmez-Lobo & Dante Contreras, 2003. "Water Subsidy Policies: A Comparison of the Chilean and Colombian Schemes," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(3), pages 391-407, December.
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