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Publication Detail
Empowering change: The effects of energy provision on individual aspirations in slum communities
This paper discusses the role of energy provision in influencing the social aspirations of people living in slums. We examine factors that influence the shift in aspirations in five slum settlements using data from 500 interviews conducted in serviced and non-serviced slums from the state of Gujarat in India. The non-serviced slums did not have access to basic services namely water, sanitation, energy, roads, solid waste and rainwater management. We find empirical evidence which suggests that when basic infrastructure provisions are met, slum dwellers shift their focus from lower order aspirations to the higher order aspirations like health, education, housing and land ownership. We argue that energy provision enhances productivity and enables slum dwellers to shift their aspirations upwards. Furthermore, we test the effect of work days lost due to illness on the relationship between higher order aspirations and aspirations for energy provision. When provision of energy is low, higher work day loss dampens higher order aspirations. For policy makers, this study highlights the critical link between the infrastructure services preferred by slum dwellers and their social aspirations for growth.
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