Department of Economics Spring 2020 Brown Bag Series

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Date(s) - 02/10/2020
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Clark C307

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The Brown Bag Seminar Series offers current ECON graduate students the opportunity to present ongoing research or to workshop new ideas. The seminars are held on Mondays from 12:00-1:00pm in Clark C307 and are open to everyone.

For more information on the series or specific seminars, please contact Ashish Sedai at or Elene Murvanidze at

February 10th’s presenter is ECON Ph.D. graduate student Ashish Sedai. His presentation is titled: “Flickering Lifelines: Electrification and its impact on Household Welfare.”

Abstract: Access to reliable energy is central to improvements in living standards and is also recognized as a sustainable development goal. This study moves beyond counting electrified households and looks at the hours of electricity a household receives to measure welfare using the Indian Human Development Survey 2005-2012. The study focuses on the extensive and the intensity margins: how access and each additional hour of electricity affects household welfare in terms of consumption expenditure, income, assets and the status of poverty. Based on the available literature, we hypothesize that each additional hour of electricity access matters differently for the poor, the middle class and the rich, in rural and urban areas. We use three empirical approaches: panel fixed effects instrumental variables, cross sectional fixed effects instrumental variables, and logistic regression approaches to gauge the effects of electrification on consumption, income and wealth with an additional hour of electricity at the margin of electricity deficiency. The study finds huge gaps between potential benefits and costs of electricity supply. A progressive pricing mechanism with targeted subsidies for the poor could increase household welfare while also reducing the financial losses of State Electricity Boards. We find electricity theft to be positively correlated with net returns from electrification.