Access to Modern Energy: A Review of Impact Evaluations

Stefano Pareglio, Jacopo Daniele Bonan, M. Tavoni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Universal access to modern energy services, in terms of access to electricity and to modern cooking facilities, has been recognized as fundamental challenge for development and is likely to be included in the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Despite a strong praise for action and several programs at both national and international level, very few impact evaluation studies try to shed light on the causal relationship between access to energy and development, by also allowing decision makers to rigorously assess cost-effectiveness and efficiency of policies and programs. This work attempts to review the literature on existing impact evaluation of access to electricity and modern cooking facilities. For access to electricity we consider as outcomes labour markets, time allocation, household welfare (consumption, income, schooling and health) and business. For access to improved cookstoves, we assess impacts on household welfare. The reviewed literature highlights a significant causal impact of electricity access on important metrics of wellbeing, but more mixed evidence regarding clean cookstove. Finally, we also review the barriers and drivers of access to modern energy services identified by most recent impact evaluation studies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • energy access
  • energy poverty
  • impact evaluation
  • literature review
  • modern cookstoves
  • rural electrification


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