Press Release

Electrification and the Rural Poor of Developing Nations

Jun 8, 2016

WASHINGTON—Approximately one in seven people in the world (more than a billion) are without access to electricity, according to the World Bank. In a new paper posted by Resources for the Future (RFF), a team of researchers focuses on the short-term effects of expanding electricity to the last 10 percent of poor rural villages, known as barangays, in the Philippines.

Lighting Up the Last Mile: The Benefits and Costs of Extending Electricity to the Rural Poor is authored by RFF Gilbert White Fellow Ujjayant Chakravorty and assistant professors Kyle Emerick of Tufts University and Majah-Leah Ravago of the University of the Philippines (UP). The study was supported by UP's Energy Policy and Development Program.

They conclude that in most villages, the cost of providing electricity is recovered within a single year. Electricity does not increase employment. Rather, increases in agricultural income appear to account for a meaningful share of the gains from electrification.

The study notes the benefit of increased agricultural income likely brought on by electrification: “These findings further suggest that the benefits to rural electrification may be significantly high, even in the very short run.”

Read the entire study: Lighting Up the Last Mile: The Benefits and Costs of Extending Electricity to the Rural Poor.

Resources for the Future does not take intitutional positions. Please attribute any findings to the authors or the research itself. For example, use "According to research from RFF …" rather than "According to RFF …".

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Resources for the Future (RFF) is an independent, nonpartisan organization based in Washington, DC, that conducts rigorous economic research and analysis to improve environmental and natural resource policy.