Lack of access to electricity is seen as a major constraint to economic growth and increased welfare in developing countries. In 2010 nearly 1.3 billion people (close to one-fifth of the global population) did not have access to electricity, with most of them in India, South East Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
In this report, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) has conducted a review of the evidence that investments in electricity-generating capacity have benefits for poor people, and what factors influence that relationship.
The review begins by elucidating a theory to break down the causal chain between additional renewable electricity generation capacity and poverty impacts in four stages or links, which can be formulated as four research questions:
- What is the link between increased renewable electricity capacity and higher availability and reliability of supply?
- What is the link between increased availability and reliability of electricity and actual connection and use by the poor?
- What is the link between electricity consumption and poverty impacts?
- What is the link between electricity consumption and economic growth at the macro level?