An empirical analysis of health effects from electrification : evidence from Norway 1900-1921
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- CELE - Master thesis 
Does access to electricity from hydroelectricity plants affect the health of a population? The aim of this thesis is to analyze the health effects from hydroelectricity at a time when electrification was more or less synonymous with gaining access to electric light from simple light bulbs. Exploiting data on health and the roll out of hydroelectricity plants in Norway in the period from 1900 to 1921, we assess the relationship between electrification and three health variables: infant mortality, tuberculosis and diarrhea. Utilizing a staggered differences-in-differences approach, we find a positive effect of electrification on health. This implies that access to even simple electric appliances has positive consequences for health standards. The findings are interesting in two regards. Firstly, they contribute to the existing literature on the modernization and industrialization of Norway, as well as to the previous literature on health effects from electrification. Secondly, they are interesting in a contemporary policy perspective, as about 15 percent of the world population lack access to electricity today. Our findings are consistent with the previous literature, although the estimated effect is smaller in magnitude. Partly, this can be explained by the simplicity of the appliances resulting from electrification at the time. Also, our estimated effects are intention-to-treat effects averaged across the entire population, whereas the actual effect in treated households is likely to be larger in magnitude.
Advisor: Aline Bütikofer