Provision of electricity to African households: The importance of democracy and institutional quality
Journal article, 2015

How can differences in per capita household electricity consumption across African countries be un- derstood? Based on theories that highlight the importance of democracy and institutional quality for provision of public goods, the aim of the paper is to analyse the degree to which the level of per capita household electricity consumption in African countries can be attributed to the countries’ democratic status and their institutional quality. We rely on regression analysis employing a pooled data set for 44 African countries over the time period 1996–2009. The analysis shows that democracy and institutional quality both have significant positive effects on per capita household consumption of electricity. Our results have implications for how energy sector reforms are promoted in developing countries. At a more general level they illustrate that institution-building policy efforts are relevant also in areas where contemporary debates have tended to primarily centre on economic development, financial prerequisites and ownership issues.


Institutional quality


Household electricity use


Helene Ahlborg

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Environmental Systems Analysis

Frida Boräng

University of Gothenburg

Sverker C. Jagers

University of Gothenburg

Patrik Söderholm

Luleå University of Technology

Energy Policy

0301-4215 (ISSN)

Vol. 87 125-135

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Political Science

Other Social Sciences not elsewhere specified



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