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Electricity sector reform in developing countries : a survey of empirical evidence on determinants and performance

  • Jamasb, Tooraj
  • Mota, Raffaella
  • Newbery, David
  • Pollitt, Michael

Driven by ideology, economic reasoning, and early success stories, vast amounts of financial resources and effort have been spent on reforming infrastructure industries in developing countries. It is therefore important to examine whether evidence supports the logic of reforms. The authors review the empirical evidence on electricity reform in developing countries. They find that country institutions and sector governance play an important role inthe success and failure of reform. And reforms also appear to have increased operating efficiency and expanded access to urban customers. However, the reforms have to a lesser degree passed on efficiency gains to customers, tackled distributional effects, and improved rural access. Moreover, some of the literature is not methodologically robust and on par with general development economics literature. Further, findings on some issues are limited and inconclusive, while other important areas are yet to be addressed. Until we know more, implementation of reforms will be more based on ideology and economic theory rather than solid economic evidence.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3549.

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Date of creation: 01 Mar 2005
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3549
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