This paper estimates the returns to household income due to improved access to electricity in rural India. We examine the effect of connecting a household to the grid and the quality of electricity, defined as hours of daily supply. The analysis is based on two rounds of a representative panel of more than 10,000 households. We use the district-level density of transmission cables as instrument for the electrification status of the household. We find that a grid connection increases non-agricultural incomes of rural households by about 9 percent during the study period (1994-2005). However, a grid connection and a higher quality of electricity (in terms of fewer outages and more hours per day) increases non-agricultural incomes by about 28.6 percent in the same period.


Suggested citation: Chakravorty, U., M. Pelli, B. U. Marchand, (2014), ‘Does the Quality of Electricity Matter? Evidence from Rural India’, Nota di Lavoro 11.2014, Milan, Italy: Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.