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Information and energy policy preferences: a survey experiment on public opinion about electricity pricing reform in rural India

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  • Michaël Aklin
  • Patrick Bayer
  • S. Harish
  • Johannes Urpelainen

Abstract

A common argument for the lack of economic reform in developing countries is popular opposition. If current economic policies are dysfunctional, could information about alternatives sway the voters? We examine if a simple argument emphasizing the need to increase electricity prices for improved supply can change public opinion in the case of India’s power sector reforms. The evidence comes from a survey experiment in rural Uttar Pradesh, which is both India’s largest state and has one of the lowest levels of household electrification. As expected, people respond to information about the relationship between electricity pricing, capacity investment, and reliability of supply by increasing their support for higher prices. However, no corresponding increase is observed for privatization of electricity generation. For external validity, we analyze an existing national survey on electricity privatization conducted in 2004/2005, finding patterns that support our argument. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Michaël Aklin & Patrick Bayer & S. Harish & Johannes Urpelainen, 2014. "Information and energy policy preferences: a survey experiment on public opinion about electricity pricing reform in rural India," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(4), pages 305-327, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ecogov:v:15:y:2014:i:4:p:305-327
    DOI: 10.1007/s10101-014-0146-5
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    Cited by:

    1. Aklin, Michaël & Cheng, Chao-Yo & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2018. "Social acceptance of new energy technology in developing countries: A framing experiment in rural India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 113(C), pages 466-477.
    2. 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.
    3. Blankenship, Brian & Wong, Jason Chun Yu & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2019. "Explaining willingness to pay for pricing reforms that improve electricity service in India," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 128(C), pages 459-469.
    4. Blankenship, Brian & Kennedy, Ryan & Mahajan, Aseem & Wong, Jason Chun Yu & Urpelainen, Johannes, 2020. "Increasing rural electrification through connection campaigns," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 139(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Electricity; Power sector; Survey experiment; Investment; India; Rural development; O13; Q48; Q58;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy

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