Pakistan energy consumption and participation survey

Project Active from to Energy

This study addresses a core focus for IGC’s goal of promoting sustainable economic growth: what happens to the relationship between citizens and their representatives when traditional state services in large urban municipalities such as water, electricity and garbage collection are privatised?

Preliminary evidence from the IGC study conducted by Haider in 2018 suggests that privatisation has mixed results in promoting trust between citizens and the state and is highly contingent on the quality of services provided by the vendor. Additionally, the collective punishment to prioritize high bill payment areas and de-prioritize low bill collection areas may have the unintended consequence of making people mistrustful of each other, leading to collective action failures. This study recommends a follow-up study to test rigorous causal mechanisms for this change, in order to make empirically robust policy recommendations.

This research is urgent and necessary, particularly given Pakistan's energy and urban service delivery crises. We propose to conduct two follow-up surveys in Karachi and Lahore, with identical questions pertaining to consumption, satisfaction with services and mechanisms for redress. This follow-up will allow for rigorous test of the causal impact of private service delivery on political behaviour and accountability institutions. The study also adds a crucial comparative dimension to the work, comparing the baseline findings in Karachi to another major city in Pakistan. A total of 1,200 households will be surveyed in both cities. Finally, a targeted, incentivized experiment of 400 households will take place in Karachi, exploiting a randomized discontinuity provided by access to geo-located service delivery clusters.