Economics of Governance

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 305–327 | Cite as

Information and energy policy preferences: a survey experiment on public opinion about electricity pricing reform in rural India

  • Michaël Aklin
  • Patrick Bayer
  • S. P. Harish
  • Johannes Urpelainen
Original Paper

Abstract

A common argument for the lack of economic reform in developing countries is popular opposition. If current economic policies are dysfunctional, could information about alternatives sway the voters? We examine if a simple argument emphasizing the need to increase electricity prices for improved supply can change public opinion in the case of India’s power sector reforms. The evidence comes from a survey experiment in rural Uttar Pradesh, which is both India’s largest state and has one of the lowest levels of household electrification. As expected, people respond to information about the relationship between electricity pricing, capacity investment, and reliability of supply by increasing their support for higher prices. However, no corresponding increase is observed for privatization of electricity generation. For external validity, we analyze an existing national survey on electricity privatization conducted in 2004/2005, finding patterns that support our argument.

Keywords

Electricity Power sector Survey experiment Investment India Rural development 

JEL Classification

O13 Q48 Q58 

Supplementary material

10101_2014_146_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (81 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (pdf 80 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michaël Aklin
    • 1
    • 2
  • Patrick Bayer
    • 3
  • S. P. Harish
    • 1
  • Johannes Urpelainen
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of PoliticsNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political Science, Program in International & Area StudiesWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of PoliticsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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