A statistical analysis of the link between energy and the Millennium Development Goals

Patrick Nussbaumer, Morgan Bazilian, Anthony Patt

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    Energy is closely linked with key contemporary global challenges the world faces, including poverty alleviation and climate change. The provision of energy services is often assumed to be a prerequisite to economic and social development. Although not an explicit goal, energy is crucial to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). While intuitive, such a relationship is difficult to quantitatively ascertain and thus has not been analytically explored in detail in the scientific literature. The correlation between access to energy services and development is, however, often addressed in aggregate, for example by using composite indexes such as the Human Development Index, or by focusing strictly on economic impacts. This paper presents a statistical articulation of the link between energy and various proxies of development, using the MDGs as a framework. The analysis confirms the potentially positive influence of access to energy services on development. It provides a perspective on a number of often employed assumptions about the correlation between energy and development, and challenges claims of its universally positive benefits to specific development priorities. We find that the benefits to development of access to energy services vary considerably. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)101-112
    JournalClimate and Development
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2013


    • development
    • energy access
    • energy development
    • poverty
    • sustainable development


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