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Measuring energy poverty in South Africa based on householdrequired energy consumption

Author(s): 
Yuxiang Yeú and Steven F. Koch
Publication date: 
December 2020

Energy poverty is a major concern in most of developing countries while its measurement has not been fully addressed due to the complexity of energy basic needs estimation. This study contributes to the literature by measuring energy poverty with focus on household required energy consumption using widely available household budget survey data. We apply the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) poverty measures in a developing but somewhat energy advanced context, South Africa. Our energy poverty line is based on household dependent required energy consumption, and we use data from a recent South African Living Conditions Survey. We find that headcount energy poverty is extensive, as is the gap and the severity of energy poverty. Decomposition results suggest that energy poverty rates decrease with income, and lower income groups contribute more to total poverty than higher income groups across all the three poverty indexes. Our results are consistent with those from previous research, which suggests that our measure of required energy may be a reasonable option for understanding energy poverty.

Publication PDF: 
Series title: 
Working paper 843