The Impact of Electricity Sector Privatization on Public Health
This paper uses provincial-level data for Argentina to test for the causal relationship between electricity distribution and health. It examines the impact of privatization on two output measures: incidence of low birth weight and child mortality rates caused by food poisoning. Privatization improves service coverage which, through the use of refrigerators, may improve nutritional intake. Privatization also results in a reduction in the frequency of interruptions, and thus may reduce the likelihood of food poisoning. Though the evidence indicates that privatization reduced the frequency of low birth weight and child mortality rates caused by food poisoning, the results are not strong enough to inform the policy debate with respect to the benefits of privatization for the welfare of the poor.