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Electoral cycles in electricity losses in India

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  • Min, Brian
  • Golden, Miriam

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Min, Brian & Golden, Miriam, 2014. "Electoral cycles in electricity losses in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 619-625.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:enepol:v:65:y:2014:i:c:p:619-625
    DOI: 10.1016/j.enpol.2013.09.060
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Antonio Carvalho, 2016. "Delays in Connecting Firms to Electricity: What Matters?," CEERP Working Paper Series 003, Centre for Energy Economics Research and Policy, Heriot-Watt University.
    2. Kitchens, Carl T. & Jaworski, Taylor, 2017. "Ownership and the price of residential electricity: Evidence from the United States, 1935–1940," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 53-61.
    3. Sundström, Aksel, 2016. "Corruption and Violations of Conservation Rules: A Survey Experiment with Resource Users," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 73-83.
    4. repec:eee:enepol:v:114:y:2018:i:c:p:288-300 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Nishith Prakash & Marc Rockmore & Yogesh Uppal, 2014. "Do Criminally Accused Politicians Affect Economic Outcomes? Evidence from India," HiCN Working Papers 192, Households in Conflict Network.
    6. repec:eee:wdevel:v:104:y:2018:i:c:p:128-139 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Baskaran, Thushyanthan & Min, Brian & Uppal, Yogesh, 2015. "Election cycles and electricity provision: Evidence from a quasi-experiment with Indian special elections," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 64-73.
    8. Chao-yo Cheng & Johannes Urpelainen, 2016. "Unawareness and indifference to economic reform among the public: evidence from India’s power sector reform," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 17(3), pages 211-239, August.
    9. Cheng, Chao-yo & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2014. "Fuel stacking in India: Changes in the cooking and lighting mix, 1987–2010," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 76(C), pages 306-317.
    10. Singh,Anoop & Jamasb,Tooraj & Nepal,Rabindra & Toman,Michael A., 2015. "Cross-border electricity cooperation in South Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7328, The World Bank.
    11. Aklin, Michaël & Bayer, Patrick & Harish, S.P. & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2015. "Quantifying slum electrification in India and explaining local variation," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 203-212.
    12. Hittinger, Eric & Lueken, Roger, 2015. "Is inexpensive natural gas hindering the grid energy storage industry?," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 140-152.
    13. repec:eee:rensus:v:82:y:2018:i:p3:p:2916-2933 is not listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Line losses; Politics; India;

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