Fiona Burlig

Nearly 1 billion people still lack electricity access. In response, developing countries are investing billions of dollars in “last-mile” electrification, although evidence on its economic impacts is mixed. We estimate the development effects of rural electrification in the context of India’s national electrification program, RGGVY, which reached over 400,000 villages. Using regression discontinuity and difference-in-differences designs, we estimate that RGGVY meaningfully expanded electricity access. However, the program generated limited economic impacts after 3–5 years. Scaling our intent-to-treat estimates  instrumental variables, we find that while “fully electrifying” small villages reduces welfare, electrification likely increases welfare for larger villages.

Areas of Focus: Energy Markets
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Energy Markets
Well-functioning markets are essential for providing access to reliable, affordable energy. EPIC research is uncovering the policies, prices and information needed to help energy markets work efficiently.
Electric Power
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Electric Power
As the electric power system faces new pressures and opportunities, EPIC research is working to identify the mix of policies needed to accelerate the global transition to clean, reliable, affordable...
Energy Efficiency
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Energy Efficiency
Improving energy efficiency is lauded as a promising way reduce emissions and lower energy costs. Yet, a robust body of research demonstrates that not all efficiency investments deliver. EPIC faculty...