Early on in the research it was recognized that rural electrification varied substantially between countries. To avoid the pitfalls of assuming that country-specific characteristics are general consequences of rural electrification, a comparative research design was adopted to address issues involved in the impact of rural electrification. To this end, detailed rural electrification evaluations were completed in the 1980s in three countries: India, Indonesia and Colombia. The resolution of the 1980s controversy depended on an evaluation of the socioeconomic benefits, along with the cost of rural electrification as examined in this research. Many evaluation studies of rural electrification were limited to examining villages or communities only a few years after they received electricity service, thus measuring only short-term effects. Rural electrification projects affect countries at all levels: regional, community and household. The expansion of empirical knowledge concerning the impact of rural electrification on macro-changes in the structure of rural villages is one of the important contributions of this research.