Johannes Urpelainen

Johannes Urpelainen
Johns Hopkins University | JHU

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293
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Publications

Publications (293)
Article
Expanding the use of clean cooking fuels has been a priority for the Government of India in recent years to obtain potential public health and women’s empowerment benefits. Evidence to date suggests most recent clean fuel adopters continue to use polluting biomass for some household energy needs. However, the specific ways households use both pollu...
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A large literature in international relations explores the domestic origin of national positions at international organizations (IOs). Less researched is the institutional assembling within IOs, and how alliances formed around negotiation groups affect countries’ positions. We explore this question in the context of the United Nations Framework Con...
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Energy access delivers broad socio-economic benefits, but few studies have examined how benefits are allocated within the household. Here we conduct a large-scale survey with 4,624 respondents across six Indian states to provide results on intra-household differences across multiple outcome dimensions of energy service, including knowledge, satisfa...
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As the global economy transitions to greater reliance on renewable energy, it is crucial that this be a Just Transition in which new jobs are created to offset reduced opportunities in fossil fuels. This is critical to mitigate political opposition to the renewable energy transition. We use a survey experiment in Jharkhand, one of India's largest c...
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While most households around the world have access to electricity, the number of hours per day when the grid supplies them with adequate voltage can be low. Improving the reliability of electricity is crucial to make progress on energy poverty but measuring and monitoring it is difficult, especially in lower-income countries where official data is...
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Coal-fired energy generation is the backbone of India’s power sector and considered a driver of its economic development. However, it is associated with detrimental environmental and health impacts in India and its fleet is currently struggling with overcapacity and inefficiency problems. One solution to address these challenges is the early retire...
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As the global community struggles to meet carbon emission goals and climate-related disaster becomes more likely, geoengineering technologies are more frequently being considered as a possible defense against global warming. The Arctic, in particular, given its importance in future global climate dynamics as well as the fact that the region is alre...
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Does political alignment at different levels of government influence centralized bureaucratic processes? Environmental clearances are important regulatory tools that allow governments to target the distribution of public goods/bads by both controlling negative externalities and allocating rents from project developers. While commentators advocate f...
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Solar lanterns serve as practical substitutes for kerosene as a source of lighting; however, because of liquidity and affordability concerns, the uptake of lanterns has been slow. We conducted a randomised control trial in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh, amongst 500 households to see whether a voucher, microfinance, or cash program would be most effective...
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To address issues of non-payment, high costs, and theft, paying a fixed fee for electricity is common among many developing countries. We use a conjoint experiment to study electricity billing preferences among urban and rural communities in Uttar Pradesh, India. We find that 59.5% of respondents (95% CI: 58.2%–60.9%) prefer consumption-based tarif...
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The reported effects of electrification on rural entrepreneurship are mixed, with recent studies describing heterogeneity in outcomes and methodological challenges in attributing causal effects. Furthermore, the debate largely focuses on performance outcomes, rather than supply- and demand-side barriers to productive electricity use itself. In this...
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Amidst a general increase in household electricity access across the world, some vulnerable communities stand at risk of being left behind. As a result, electricity inequality can be increasing even in countries in which access improves on average. We explore this question in the context of Jharkhand, India, which is characterized by its large trib...
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As household electrification rates continue to increase globally, the focus in energy access planning is increasingly shifting towards quality of service. To inform this planning, we explore changes in household electricity and people's use and satisfaction with their service over time in rural India. Fielded in 2015, the ACCESS survey collected da...
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From solar lanterns to home systems and minigrids, distributed renewable energy (DRE) has become increasingly competitive as an alternative to grid extension in household electrification across many parts of the emerging world. We explore how DRE use in Indian households has evolved against the backdrop of massive public investment in grid extensio...
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Political-feasibility concerns are at the center of real-world air-pollution policymaking. Yet, these concerns are often not represented in leading decision-support tools that have been used for assessing policies' environmental impacts. Focusing on a wide range of clean-air policies in India, we assess their political-feasibility scores on the bas...
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Pervasive overuse and degradation of common pool resources (CPRs) is a global concern. To sustainably manage CPRs, effective governance institutions are essential. A large literature has developed to describe the institutional design features employed by communities that successfully manage their CPRs. Yet, these designs remain far from universally...
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Despite substantial investments in high-frequency, remote-sensed forest monitoring in the Amazon, early deforestation alerts generated by these systems rarely reach the most directly affected populations in time to deter deforestation. We study a community monitoring program that facilitated transfer of early deforestation alerts from the Global Fo...
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Extreme climatic events and variability are on the rise around the world, with varying implications for populations across socio-economic conditions. Effective strategies for climate adaptation and development depend on understanding these differential sensitivities to climatic variability. This study focuses on a vulnerable population living in fo...
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Liquified petroleum gas (LPG) is an important clean fuel alternative for households that rely on burning biomass for daily cooking needs. In India, Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has provided poor households with LPG connections since 2016. We investigate cooking fuel use in households to determine the impact of the policy in the Central Indi...
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In many developing countries, theft remains a significant obstacle to ensuring proper public service provision and access. We argue that social acceptability of theft constitutes an understudied barrier to curbing power theft. Using a conjoint experiment, we study perceptions of theft in the form of using illegal wires, katiya, among rural and urba...
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This study aims to reveal the status quo and future trend of thermoelectric water use and water stress in India. We compiled a bottom-up geo-database for all thermal power plants in India and identified the type of cooling technology used. We then estimated thermoelectric water withdrawal and water consumption in India from 2009 to 2018 and project...
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Rural energy access in India has improved steadily over the last decade. This progress is attributed to national energy reforms that aim to not only expand access to grid electricity and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) but also to improve quality of access. Considering the historical caste-based energy access disparities unique to the Indian context,...
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Why do power sector reform succeed and fail in democratic contexts? We conduct comparative case studies of these reforms in the largest 20 Indian states. These states have responded to India’s electricity generation, transmission, and distribution crises in different ways. Similar to conventional case studies, our research design has the virtue of...
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While scholarship on “retrospective voting” has found that incumbent politicians can be punished for a range of events outside their control, the literature has paid scant attention to the role of political alignment between the different levels of government in disaster responses and its implications for voting decisions. We argue that retrospecti...
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Indian internal migration is among the highest in the world, with 30% of the population migrating, often for work. Such population movement can alleviate poverty and reduce forest degradation. However, estimates of this double dividend are scarce. We estimate the potential of internal migration to alleviate poverty by exploring migrant characterist...
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Air pollution is a vexing problem for emerging countries that strike a delicate balance between environmental protection, health, and energy for growth. We examine these difficulties in a study of disparate levels of exposure to pollution from coal-fired power generation in India, a country with high levels of air pollution and large, marginalized...
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Measuring energy access in developing countries involves much more than simply recording whether or not households are connected to the grid. Both international organizations and scholars now recognize the importance of reliable electricity supply for achieving positive development outcomes. Yet, measuring reliability is much more difficult than me...
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To what extent do the short-term negative externalities of fossil fuel use traverse national borders? Transnational negative externalities are thought to motivate international environmental cooperation, but we often lack detailed data on their occurrence. Using a Hybrid Single Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory Model (HYSPLIT), we offer glo...
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Solid fuel combustion is a major cause of household air pollution, a leading environmental health risk factor globally. In India, over 750 million people continue to rely on firewood and other solid fuels for daily cooking. We explore the drivers of adoption and use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), India’s dominant clean cooking fuel. We document...
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Electricity access and appliance usage are integral parts of developing a modern economy in rural areas. Unfortunately, many households in rural India struggle to access reliable electricity and, therefore, are unable to power appliances throughout the day. We use household survey data from 10,249 households across the Indian states of Bihar, Odish...
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How beneficial is basic energy access – typically lighting and mobile charging – for rural households? Despite research on the economic impacts of basic energy access, few studies have investigated how it changes household behavior. Here we report results from a randomized controlled trial in rural Uttar Pradesh, India, which identifies the behavio...
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Even as India pursues universal electricity access, household electricity consumption remains poorly understood. While studies have investigated residential electricity consumption, most focus on urban consumers, even though a majority of the newly electrified households are in rural areas. Using primary data from 10,000 households, we investigate...
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Seasonal migration to cities is a common livelihood strategy for forest-fringe households in central India. Based on a previously collected household survey of 5000 villages across 500 forest-fringe villages in 32 districts of central India, we identify migration patterns over the last 5 years. Villages with seasonal workers are widely dispersed (7...
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To ensure climate stability, the decarbonization of the global economy is necessary. Coal-fired power generation is both the most carbon-intensive form of electricity supply and associated with adverse health effects. Thus, retiring coal-fired power plants is essential for achieving the goals of the Paris agreement on climate change. Here we introd...
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Governments in developing countries are investing billions of dollars to increase electricity access in rural areas, but the literature on the impact of these investments has produced mixed results. We leverage a unique characteristic of household electrification policy in Uttar Pradesh, India, whereby only households within 40 m of an electricity...
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Ambient air pollution kills over four million people every year globally. Improving air quality presents a complex problem for governments as emissions are produced from a wide range of sources and tend to cross boundaries. To understand the challenge of transboundary air pollution transfer, we use a detailed emissions inventory and a source-orient...
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State policies shape firms’ incentives to lobby in the United States, but the existing lobbying literature mostly ignores these incentives. Using lobbying records for all electric utilities in the United States from 1998 to 2012, we examine how state policies affect federal lobbying by both proponents and opponents of federal support for the renewa...
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The term “global South” refers to developing countries as a whole, but recently, numerous developing countries – Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Thailand, South Africa, and others – simultaneously grew wealthier while many other countries remain poor. This prompts a fundamental question: does the global South demonstrate unity in...
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Rural electrification has advanced rapidly in many developing countries. Under conditions of poverty and weak infrastructure, however, households face a risk of backsliding. We use two rounds from the ACCESS survey of rural households in six northern Indian states to explore factors that drive losses in household electricity access. About 7% of hou...
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As both China and India are moving away from coal in the power sector, Southeast Asia has emerged as arguably the most important region for future growth in coal-fired power generation. Here we use data from the January 2017 edition of the Global Coal Plant Tracker to understand coal’s fortunes in the region. More specifically, we manipulate three...
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To reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of universal household electrification by 2030, developing countries are spending billions of dollars to expand access. India, for example, recently undertook an audacious expansion plan which aimed to electrify every household by December 2018. However, there is little academic study of stra...
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Across diverse geographies, mini-grids have been employed to provide energy access to off-grid and rural communities. In India, amid the government push to expand grid infrastructure, concerns have been raised about the viability of mini-grid business models that are largely run by private companies. While the role of mini-grids in previously un-el...
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en How do disruptions in basic public service delivery shape people’s perceptions of politicians? We offer evidence from the July 2012 blackout in India, the largest in human history. Using data from the India Human Development Survey, we compare confidence in politicians between households that were surveyed during the outage and affected by it (t...
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We examine unequal outcomes in the implementation of India’s national rural electrification program in Uttar Pradesh. We ask two questions: (1) to what extent did Dalits, the lowest group in India’s caste hierarchy, receive less attention when the state electrified rural communities? (2) Was BSP, the state’s Dalit party, able to reduce this inequal...
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Widespread adoption of clean cooking fuels is a necessary step toward reducing household air pollution and improving population health. Here we use large-scale surveys (10,000 households) from two Indian states, Kerala and Rajasthan, to examine how education and attitudes toward cooking associate with the adoption of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG),...
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How can demand for electricity be estimated without fine-grained usage data? Employing an original and large dataset, we develop a novel method for determining drivers of demand without electricity meter data. We first segment Indian consumers by their willingness to pay for electricity service, their level of usage, and their satisfaction with lig...
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en Do elections affect legislators' voting patterns? We investigate this question in the context of environmental policy in the U.S. Congress. We theorize that since the general public is generally in favor of legislation protecting the environment, legislators have an incentive to favor the public over industry and vote for pro‐environment legisla...
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Despite the growing use of impact evaluations for electrification interventions, little attention has been paid to the geographical distribution of such evaluations. This is concerning because cultural and regional differences may limit how transferable results across regions are. We undertake a systematic review of the literature and find 31 impac...
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Using comprehensive data on power generation and energy access, we explore associations between coal-fired power generation and household electrification. We find that, although there is a strong between-country correlation between coal-fired power generation capacity and electricity access, the correlation disappears when we focus on within-countr...
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Although it seems intuitively clear that candidate quality provides a critical pillar of democratic governance, the consequences of electing low-quality politicians remain unclear. Combining census data and election results, we conduct a regression discontinuity analysis to examine the socioeconomic effects of criminal politicians in India. We find...
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Air pollution is a pressing problem of public health for developing countries, but governments have few incentives to abate air pollution without public awareness of the issue. Focusing on the case of Vietnam, we examine the determinants of public awareness of air pollution. Using representative survey data for the entire country from 2017, we find...
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Off-grid solar systems have a number of advantages in developing countries, but they rely on the capacity of private entrepreneurs to develop a reliable customer base and methods for recruiting these customers. This study uses data from 68,600 customers of BBOXX, a London-based off-grid solar power company, to classify customers and explore the dem...
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Universal household electrification is a key component of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, but the evidence base for social and economic impacts of electricity access remains unclear. Here we report results from a systematic review of impact evaluations of household electrification based on five key outcome measures. We only find 3...
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Clean cooking fuels promise substantial health benefits for rural households, but almost three billion people continue to rely on traditional biomass for their cooking needs. We explore the role of gender in the adoption of LPG, a clean cooking fuel, in rural India. Given that women are responsible for most households’ cooking needs, we propose tha...
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en What is the relationship between political institutions and air pollution generated by the power sector? Here we focus on the association between democracy and power generated from coal, the most polluting of all fossil fuels. Using a new dataset on coal‐fired power plants commissioned between 1980 and 2016 in 71 countries, we find that the rela...
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One of the great questions for scholars of international relations and economics concerns the relationship between the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the natural environment. Does membership in the multilateral trade regime constrain environmental regulation and increase the environmental burden of national economies? Do countries pay a heavy e...
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Off-grid solar systems have a number of advantages in developing countries, but they rely on the capacity of private entrepreneurs to develop a reliable customer base and methods for recruiting these customers. This study uses data from 68,600 customers of BBOXX, a London-based off-grid solar power company, to classify customers and explore the dem...
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Response to Bumba Mukherjee’s review of Organizing Democracy: How International Organizations Assist New Democracies - Volume 17 Issue 2 - Paul Poast, Johannes Urpelainen
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Democracy and Trade Policy in Developing Countries. By Bumba Mukherjee. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2016. 320p. $90.00 cloth, $30.00 paper. - Volume 17 Issue 2 - Paul Poast, Johannes Urpelainen
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While rural electrification has been a high priority for many governments in the developing world, the factors that make individual households more likely to pay for a connection have received insufficient attention. In particular, many studies have dealt with the role of affordability of grid connections, but they have generally avoided studying t...
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Quality of electricity service remains poor in many developing countries. Here we examine factors that influence stated willingness to pay for better service (i.e., more hours of power per day) among rural and urban households in Uttar Pradesh, India. Besides suggesting that low willingness to pay is a major obstacle to pricing reform, we find that...
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Given the size and growth prospects of the Indian economy, the Indian power sector plays a key role in the global effort to mitigate climate change. Here we use the January 2017 edition of the Coal Tracker database to understand the future prospects for Indian coal. Using improved lower and upper bounds for potential construction and capacity facto...
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en Sectoral interests play an important role in distributive politics, but their influence is difficult to measure. We compare the effect of international oil prices on subsidies for domestic gasoline and diesel consumption. Because diesel is used by a smaller number of organized agricultural and transportation interests, they are more capable of c...
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While rural electrification has been a high priority for many governments in the developing world, the factors that make individual households more likely to pay for a connection have received insufficient attention. In particular, many studies have dealt with the role of affordability of grid connections, but they have generally avoided studying t...
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A reliable supply of electricity is essential for economic development, and developing countries across the world have implemented reforms to improve their power sector performance. We publish a dataset of power sector reforms in 142 developing countries from 1982 to 2013 and use the data to describe patterns of variation. We find that privatizatio...
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What accounts for the persistence of inefficient subsidies? What are the obstacles to their reform? We examine the role of trust in government among farmers in explaining support for reforming India’s energy subsidies. The subsidies under study hold back efforts to provide a reliable supply of agricultural power and contribute to the unsustainable...
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I propose that vouchers offer a promising approach to making distributed power generation, such as solar home systems, affordable to consumers and profitable for producers and distributors. In a voucher-based system, governments give vouchers to eligible beneficiaries, who then use the vouchers to purchase qualifying products and services. This sys...
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Universal electricity access is an important element of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and global efforts to monitor progress in electrification have recently escalated. To inform these efforts, we describe a new database of total, rural, and urban electrification rates across the world. Using transparent coding criteria and deca...
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As the cost of distributed power generation continues to decrease, technologies such as solar home systems and micro-grids become increasingly attractive in the quest for energy access. Here we show, however, that national rural electrification planning mostly continues to ignore distributed power generation. A detailed review of the national rural...
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Solar micro-grids are receiving increasing interest in the electrification in emerging economies. On-site performance studies of these systems have become more important as the global market is being supplied with an ever-greater variety of solar power equipment with inconsistent quality. We studied the reliability of seven small identical low-powe...
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Stand-alone photovoltaic systems provide a potentially sustainable option for rural electrification, but the design and management of these systems is a challenge. Here we examine the ability of dynamic (real-time) pricing in off-grid systems to improve the durability of the batteries used to store power. In a randomized controlled trial with a pre...
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Rural electrification has progressed unevenly across the world since 1945, with some rural communities gaining access to power decades earlier than others. We examine the association between early electrification and the quality of electricity service to households, testing the hypothesis that aging infrastructure compromises the quality of electri...