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Migration and livelihood transitions of rural farming households

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The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine the effects of migration and household capitals on agricultural and energy transitions in the setting of rapidly changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions of Chitwan, Nepal. The environmental aspects of agricultural and

The main purpose of this dissertation is to examine the effects of migration and household capitals on agricultural and energy transitions in the setting of rapidly changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions of Chitwan, Nepal. The environmental aspects of agricultural and energy transitions are also discussed to weave the changes in the livelihoods of rural households into the discourse of sustainable development, especially in the context of underdeveloped countries. The data used for the analysis is the Chitwan Valley Family Study which has been collected since 1996 at the individual and household level with the focuses on agriculture and family. The results from first difference model and multilevel logistic regression model using discrete-time event history approach deliver a couple of important messages for the future plans for local and national development. Most of all, migration plays an important role in the livelihoods of rural households in Chitwan. It might not have a direct impact, but the findings indicate that social and financial remittances from migration interact with how a household utilizes their current capitals under a given context for the future. Particularly, available labor in a household, prior investment in agriculture, exposure to modern life style, and what other people do, all these factors moderate the association between migration and the transitions. The implications of these results on sustainable development for the future of Chitwan and Nepal in the coming years are discussed afterwards.

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2014

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Justice in Transition: A Case of Decentralized Renewables from India

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As India expanded its grid infrastructure, decentralized renewable energy technologies, such as off-grid solar, also emerged in parallel as an electrification solution. This dissertation critically examines the role of off-grid solar in facilitating rural electrification efforts in India. Specifically, it

As India expanded its grid infrastructure, decentralized renewable energy technologies, such as off-grid solar, also emerged in parallel as an electrification solution. This dissertation critically examines the role of off-grid solar in facilitating rural electrification efforts in India. Specifically, it applies the frameworks of the multi-level perspective, capabilities approach, and energy justice to achieve three objectives: (1) trace the evolution of off-grid solar in India; (2) understand the role of solar micro-grids in improving household capabilities and well-being; (1) examine whether and how community-scale solar micro-grids can operate as just means of electrification. This research relies on qualitative case-study methods. The historical research in Paper 1 is based on published policy documents and interviews with energy experts in India. It finds that landscape-regime-niche actor relations and politics were crucial in shaping off-grid solar transition outcomes. There is also a narrative component, as the key narratives of energy security, environmental degradation, climate change and energy for development converged to create spaces for state and non-state interactions that could nurture the development of off-grid solar. The community-level research in Papers 2 and 3 analyze a local energy initiative of community operated solar micro-grid using semi-structured interviews and participant observations from three villages in Maharashtra. Solar micro-grids play an important part in expanding people’s choices and opportunities. The benefits are not uniform across all people, however. Increases in energy-related capabilities vary by economic class and gender, and to some extent this means certain biases can get reinforced. In addition, the inability of solar micro-grids to keep up with the changing electrification landscape and daily practices means that the challenges of affordability, reliability and community engagement emerged as important concerns over-time. Empirically, this dissertation finds that off-grid energy initiatives must be carefully designed to be in alignment with local values and realities. Theoretically, it adds to debates on justice in energy transitions by showcasing the regime-led innovations, and temporality elements of energy justice local energy initiatives.

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2021