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Does Solving Energy Poverty Help Solve Poverty? Not Quite

March 13, 2018

The head of Swedfund, the development finance group, recently summarized a widely-held belief: “Access to reliable electricity drives development and is essential for job creation, women’s empowerment and combating poverty.” This view has been the driving force behind a number of efforts to provide electricity to the 1.1 billion people around the world living in energy poverty.

But does electricity really help lift households out of poverty? We set out to answer this question.

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