Exploring the Impact of Energy Sources on Production, Inequality and Poverty in Simultaneous Equations Models for South Africa


  • Nicholas Ngepah

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    • Lecturer, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Senior Economist, Policy and Research Division, Competition Commission of South Africa. Tel: +27123943288(fixed) /+27733789075 (cell); Fax: +2712344288; E-mail: nnnbal@yahoo.fr. This work was supported by funding and training from CSIR and AERC. The author is grateful for very useful comments by Professor A.G. Ali and anonymous reviewers.


Abstract:  This work adapts per capita income, energy demand (sub-group decomposed), inequality and poverty frameworks in a simultaneous equations setting to investigate the role of energy sources on per capita income, inequality and poverty in South Africa. It finds that energy sources (particularly electricity and diesel) are important in estimating production functions. Gasoline, kerosene and coal all exacerbate poverty, with the highest impacts on abject poverty. It is better to disaggregate energy sources in order to capture resource-specific details. Redistribution efforts that focus on reduction of between-group inequality can also moderate energy use since between-group inequality tends to increase the demand for most energy sources. Public efforts are yielding fruits in this direction and should be encouraged. Access to energy sources like electricity, diesel and gas are crucial for productivity enhancement, but for them to yield significant anti-poverty fruits, efforts must also target broadening capital access by the poor.