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Electricity Usage as A Proxy Indicator For Poverty Targeting


D. Gunewardena ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About D.
Department of Economics and Statistics, Faculty of Arts
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S. Siyambalapitiya

Senior Research Analyst, Verité Research 5A, Police Park Place, Colombo, LK
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This perspective demonstrates that household electricity usage is a good proxy for poverty and a quick, efficient, and effective targeting mechanism for welfare benefits. As Sri Lanka’s economic crisis continues, up to 50% or more of the population will likely need state support, yet the existing welfare benefit scheme falls far short of its goals. Current targeting through Samurdhi reaches just about a quarter of all households and only 40% of the poorest decile of individuals. The analysis presented in this perspective shows that the alternative of using a threshold of 60kwh of electricity usage per month as a preliminary eligibility criterion will reach approximately 50% of the population and over 80% of the poorest among them and performs best among a set of alternatives, including Samurdhi.
How to Cite: Gunewardena, D. and Siyambalapitiya, S., 2023. Electricity Usage as A Proxy Indicator For Poverty Targeting. Sri Lanka Journal of Economic Research, 10(2), pp.115–125. DOI:
Published on 03 Feb 2023.
Peer Reviewed


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