The effects of rural electrification on employment: New evidence from South Africa

Small Fund Research Project & [ARCHIVE DISPLAY]
Taryn Dinkelman

This paper estimates the impact of electrification on employment growth by analyzing South
Africa's mass roll-out of electricity to rural households. Using several new data sources and two
different identification strategies (an instrumental variables strategy and a fixed effects approach),
I find that electrification significantly raises female employment within 5 years. This new infrastructure appears to increase hours of work for men and women, while reducing female wages and
increasing male earnings. Several pieces of evidence suggest that household electrification raises
employment by releasing women from home production and enabling micro-enterprises. Migration
behavior may also be affected.

Funding:
Marshall Weinberg Research Fellowship

Funding Period: 10/1/2006 to 12/31/2007

International Focus: South Africa

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