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Sunday, 9 December 2007

Rural electrification and female employment....

A new paper sheds further light on how rural electrification may affect local economic activity - it can have quite large positive impacts in empowering rural women, through increase in female employment :

Although electrification in general has the potential to shift rural areas to a new labor market equilibrium through changes in labor demand, I argue and present evidence that household electrification more plausibly operates as a labor saving shock to home production technology which can in turn release female time into the market.

My results indicate that in areas treated with electrification projects, the proportion of households using electric lighting rises significantly and the proportion of households cooking with wood falls significantly...Instrumental variable results suggest that female employment rises by a significant 13.5 percentage points (lower bound of 5 percentage points, upper bound of 45 percentage points) in treated areas, while the change in the male employment rate is not statistically significantly different from zero. These positive, significant changes for women are notable, since over the same period national unemployment rates are rising.

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