Achieving reliable, widespread access to electricity will be
transformative for many developing countries. It has significant effects
on how households apportion their time and which methods and inputs are
applied by productive enterprises. However, much of the world’s
population remains without this reliable access or the benefits
generated from it. This paper outlines many of the questions behind why
this remains the case. Each section of the paper covers a specific issue
and focuses on what research has found, where research is currently
being conducted, and where further research is required. All of this is
directed at understanding the forces that are standing in the way of
efficient and inclusive energy markets in these developing countries and
also what are their root causes.
This paper covers four main topics: (i) improving the reliability of
grid services, (ii) rural electrification, (iii) energy efficiency, and
(iv) minimizing the external costs of energy consumption. These each
address the main outstanding questions on these topics in the economics
literature and also the specific questions which the IGC believes are
most pressing for sustainable development. Each section also covers the
implications of these questions for continuing economic development and,
where possible, what the potential ways forward for research are.
Greenstone, M. Evidence paper: Energy, growth and development. International Growth Centre, UK (2014) 41 pp.