Social scientists from the US and the UK have found that providing electricity to rural communities in India has not brought about the socioeconomic benefits that were predicted. A team of four academics from the University of Pittsburgh, New York University, and Columbia University in the US and the University of Glasgow in Scotland conducted a randomised field experiment in India to estimate the causal effect of off-grid solar power on electricity access and broader socioeconomic development of 1,281 rural households.
Within a year, electrification rates in the treatment group increased by 29 to 36 percentage points. Daily hours of access to electricity increased only by 0.99 to 1.42 hours, and the confidence intervals are wide. Kerosene expenditure on the black market decreased by 47 to 49 rupees per month. Read more
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