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Water, Electricity, and the Poor : Who Benefits from Utility Subsidies?

Author

Listed:
  • Kristin Komives
  • Vivien Foster
  • Jonathan Halpern
  • Quentin Wodon
  • Roohi Abdullah

Abstract

While consumer utility subsidies are widespread in both the water and electricity sectors, their effectiveness in reaching and distributing resources to the poor is the subject of much debate. This publication brings together empirical evidence on subsidy performance across a wide range of countries. It documents the prevalence of consumer subsidies, provides a typology of the many variants found in the developing world, and presents a number of indicators useful in assessing the degree to which such subsidies benefit the poor, focusing on three key concepts: beneficiary incidence, benefit incidence, and materiality. The findings on subsidy performance will be useful to policy makers, utility regulators, and sector practitioners who are contemplating introducing, eliminating, or modifying utility subsidies, and to those who view consumer utility subsidies as a social protection instrument.
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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wboper:11745
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    5. Pablo Fajnzylber, 2001. "Minimum wage effects throughout the wage distribution: evidence from Brazil’s formal and informal sectors," Textos para Discussão Cedeplar-UFMG td151, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.
    6. Lemos, Sara, 2009. "Minimum wage effects in a developing country," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 224-237, April.
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    10. Wendy Cunningham, 2007. "Minimum Wages and Social Policy : Lessons from Developing Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 6760.
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