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The Effects of Rural Electrification on Employment: New Evidence from South Africa

This paper establishes that new access to public infrastructure affects both home production technologies and market employment in a developing country. It identifies these effects by exploiting variation in electricity project placement and timing from South Africa’s mass roll-out of rural household electricity. The author estimate district fixed-effects models of employment growth and fuel-use and instrument for project placement using land gradient. Within five years, treated areas substitute sharply towards electricity in home production and IV employment results are asymmetric by gender: female employment increases by a significant 13.5 percentage points, while there are no significant male effects