Recipients of PSC Small Grant Awards

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

Taryn Dinkelman

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 Source: Marshall Weinberg Research Fellowship

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

International Focus: South Africa