Subjective satisfaction and objective electricity poverty reduction in Vietnam, 2008–2018
Minh Ha-Duong , Hoai-Son Nguyen
The authors estimate the reduction of electricity poverty in Vietnam. The essential argument is that human development is about subjective feeling as much as technology and income.
The authors use a self-reported satisfaction indicator as complementary to objective indicators based on national household surveys from 2008 to 2018.
In 2010, the fraction of households with access to electricity was over 96%. However, over 24% declared their electricity use did not meet their needs. Since 2014, the satisfaction rate is around 97%, even if 25% of the households used less than 50 kWh/month. Today there is electricity for all in Vietnam, but electricity bills weigh more and more in the budget of households.
The subjective energy poverty measure allows better international statistics: unlike poverty or needs-based criteria, self-assessed satisfaction of needs compares across income levels and climates.
Inequalities in electricity use among Vietnamese households decreased during the 2008–2018 period, but are not greater than inequalities in income, contrary to the findings of Son and Yoon (2020).
Engineering and econometric objectivist approaches dominate the literature on sustainability monitoring. Out of 232 sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators, only two are subjective. Yet the findings show that subjective indicators tell a different part of the story. Access is not grid building, but the meaningful provision of electricity to satisfy the needs.
Citation: Ha-Duong, M. and Nguyen, H.-S. (2021), Subjective satisfaction and objective electricity poverty reduction in Vietnam, 2008–2018, Fulbright Review of Economics and Policy https://doi.org/10.1108/FREP-03-2021-0022