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Do Utility Subsidies Reach the Poor? Framework and Evidence for Cape Verde, Sao Tome, and Rwanda

Diego Angel-Urdinola and Quentin Wodon

Economics Bulletin, 2007, vol. 9, issue 4, 1-7

Abstract: This article provides a simple framework to analyze the determinants of targeting performance of utility tariffs and applies it to data on electricity in Cape Verde, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe. While most indicators of benefit incidence are silent as of why subsidies are targeted the way they are (they only give an idea as to whether they reach the poor or not and to what extent), we develop a simple decomposition that allows analyzing both “access” and “subsidy-design” factors that influence the targeting performance of subsidies. Our findings suggest that consumption subsidies for electricity in Cape Verde, Rwanda, and Sao Tome and Principe are regressive in large part due to access factors that prevent the poor from using the services. We then conduct simulations to quantify how much targeting performance could be enhanced by changing tariff-structures as well as subsidizing connections instead of consumption.

JEL-codes: I3 Q4 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2007-02-07
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