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How Do Electricity Shortages Affect Industry? Evidence from India

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  • Hunt Allcott
  • Allan Collard-Wexler
  • Stephen D. O'Connell

Abstract

We estimate the effects of electricity shortages on Indian manufacturers, instrumenting with supply shifts from hydroelectric power availability. We estimate that India’s average reported level of shortages reduces the average plant’s revenues and producer surplus by five to ten percent, but average productivity losses are significantly smaller because most inputs can be stored during outages. Shortages distort the plant size distribution, as there are significant economies of scale in generator costs and shortages more severely affect plants without generators. Simulations show that offering interruptible retail electricity contracts could substantially reduce the impact of shortages.

Suggested Citation

  • Hunt Allcott & Allan Collard-Wexler & Stephen D. O'Connell, 2014. "How Do Electricity Shortages Affect Industry? Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 19977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19977
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D04 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Microeconomic Policy: Formulation; Implementation; Evaluation
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L94 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Transportation and Utilities - - - Electric Utilities
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic 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

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