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Title:The impact of electricity access on education in Kenya
Author(s):Ye, Guyu
Advisor(s):Baylis, Kathy; Myers, Erica; Deal, Brian
Department / Program:Agr & Consumer Economics
Discipline:Agricultural & Applied Econ
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Electricity access
Energy poverty
Spatial econometrics
Energy planning
Machine learning
Abstract:As an integral component of modern society, access to electricity plays a pivotal role in economic prosperity. Its influence reaches to the foundations of industrial development, with the potential to enrich everything from healthcare, to transportation, to utilities and manufacturing. In this thesis, I explore the relationship between electricity and a fundamental contributor to economic growth: education. More specifically, I ask whether and how access to electricity improves educational outcomes in Kenya, one of the fastest growing countries in Africa where electricity demand has substantially outpaced its supply. A handful of prior studies have found mixed results in terms of the impact of electricity access on educational attainment in developing countries. Recent literature has recognized the endogeneity issue of electricity access, but it does not explore the potential mechanisms of the effect of electricity on educational outcomes. To address both issues, I use proximity to pre-existing transmission lines as an instrument for electricity access to estimate the effect on the average years of education for household clusters. On average, the number of years of schooling for households with electricity access is 4.1 higher than the ones without. The results under a traditional 2SLS framework show that electricity access plays an important role in improved educational attainment. In particular, when controlling for county and year fixed effects, gaining electricity access increases cluster-level average years of schooling by about 3.3 to 7.8 years. Moreover, nightlight brightness does not contribute additionally to educational attainment on top of the overall electricity access. This result is consistent with the one under a spatially lagged 2SLS framework, suggesting that electricity access contributes to improved educational attainment through mechanisms other than simply illumination.
Issue Date:2017-04-26
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Guyu Ye
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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