Autor: Accursi Federico Mario*, Bajo-Buenestado Raúl**
Institución: *Universidad Austral, **Universidad de Navarra
JEL: Q4, O1
Mini-grids are becoming the mainstream solution to provide electricity to communities in access-deficit countries, but little is known about their effectiveness in increasing electricity access and improving household welfare. We provide novel empirical evidence on this matter in the context of Tanzania, where two policy reforms doubled the number of mini-grids since 2008. Exploiting spatial and temporal variation created by the distance to the households in proximity to mini-grids and the timing of their deployment, and using data from two different surveys, we find local electrification rates increased by about 16-23%. This result is consistent with a surge in nighttime light radiance nearby newly developed projects. We document mini-grids reduced the use of pollutant fuel-based lighting devices and increased the uptake of electric-powered devices. Further evidence suggests the prevalence of diarrhea among children decreased, plausibly driven by improved food security.