The potential impacts of extractive industries on local food security are difficult to predict. On the one hand, resource extraction may generate more employment opportunities, provide farmers with better market access and increase fiscal transfers to resource-producing regions. On the other hand, mineral production may contribute to the marginalization of poor smallholders by encouraging land grabs, environmental degradation and structural labor market shifts. Combining geocoded survey data from the Demographic Health Survey and Afrobarometer with novel information on the control rights of gold, diamond and copper mines in Sub-Saharan Africa, this paper is the first attempt to systematically test the effect of mining activities on local populations’ access to food. Results from logistic models using individual mines as level of analysis suggest that the impact of mineral extraction on food security is gender- and ownership-specific. Mining operations decrease food availability among women in a substantial way, while – at the same time – showing no significant or even a positive effect on men’s access to food. Our instrumental variable models further reveal that particularly multinational mining companies are linked to increased food insecurity, while domestic firms are not. Finally, our fixed effects estimates demonstrate that mining is also related to poorer nutritional diversity. Relying on detailed information on children’s food consumption patterns from the Demographic Health Survey, we find that children living in districts hosting multinational mining firms eat a less diverse diet compared to other districts.
Temperatures, Food Riots and Adaptation: A Long-Term Historical Analysis of England with Alexander de Juan
A large body of research indicates that environmental conditions can influence the risk of social unrest. However, we know little about how these effects may change in the long-run. Are they likely to remain constant or do they change over time – for example as a consequence of human adaptation? To investigate this question, we rely on a disaggregated analysis of England over a period of more than 300 years. Combining data on geo-referenced food riots with reconstructed climate data, we first assess the impact of annual temperatures on social unrest over the period 1500–1817. We then use our long-term time-series dataset to assess the temporal heterogeneity of year-to-year associations between temperatures and social conflict. Our models show a substantive negative correlation between temperatures and food riots in the aggregate. This association, however, seems to be highly inconsistent over time and largely confined to the 18th century. In addition, we find evidence of decadal processes of adaptation: past exposure to adverse weather conditions dampens the effect of current exposure. Taken together, these findings underline the importance of considering temporal heterogeneities when assessing the climate-conflict nexus and caution against any simple extrapolations of observable present-day effects of environmental conditions into the future.
A Gendered Resource Curse? Mineral Ownership, Female Unemployment and Domestic Violence in Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa
with Mario Krauser, Gerald Schneider and Ingeborg H. Elgersma
Several studies suggest that the extractive industry has negative consequences for gender equality despite the often positive growth impact of natural resources. We re-examine this claim at the sub-state level in sub-Saharan Africa and argue that we need to differentiate between ownership arrangements in the extractive industry. To test our argument on the gender dimension of the resource curse, this article employs unique data on the control rights of minerals within sub-Saharan countries as well as data from Afrobarometer and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Our quantitative analyses explore how international vs. domestic ownership of copper, diamond and gold mines affects the labor market integration of females and intimate partner violence. The regression results suggest in line with our theoretical expectations that the natural resource industry widens the gender gap on the labor market only marginally. However, our models show that within mining areas, domestic state ownership reduces male unemployment while internationally-controlled mining projects have either no effect or are even positively associated with female unemployment. In addition, international mining investments seem to promote domestic violence within mining communities. This result supports earlier work on the importance of ownership arrangements in the extractive industries and the socially destabilizing effect that the attribution of ownership rights to international investors has in this domain.
The Micro-Foundations of the Resource Curse: Oil Ownership and Local Economic Well-Being in Sub-Saharan Africa
with Gerald Schneider and Arpita Khanna
The quantitative evidence on whether extractive industries generate economic wealth at the local level is far from conclusive. In line with recent studies highlighting the importance of considering institutional contexts and governance structures when assessing a possible resource curse, we argue that the effect of oil on local economic activity is largely driven by different control right regimes. We claim that state-controlled oil production stimulates local income more than privately-controlled extraction since national oil companies promote more linkages between the oil industry and other economic sectors. To test our micro-level arguments, we combine information on districts’ economic activity as well as individuals’ assessments of their personal economic situation with a new data set that establishes the control rights over hydrocarbons at the individual extraction site of the resource. Relying on this novel data, we perform district and individual-level analyses of sub-Saharan Africa covering the period from 1997 to 2014. Our multi-level and two-way fixed effects models show that the presence of domestic national oil companies is associated with increased local wealth, while international oil companies show no effect on subnational economic development. We also find that state-controlled oil production particularly furthers economic well-being under democratic institutions, good governance and low levels of corruption.
Educational Resource Curse? A Disaggregated Analysis of Oil Ownership and Human Capital Formation
with Mario Krauser
Quantitative studies support the claim that extractive industries discourage human capital formation. We contend that the resource-education nexus is contingent on natural resource control rights. State-controlled oil companies are more likely to promote local schooling compared to international firms because they generate more direct public revenue, pursue non-commercial goals and do not face expropriation threats. We test this claim combining novel georeferenced data on hydrocarbon control rights with information from the Demographic Health Survey for 21 sub-Saharan countries over the period 1997–2015. For a more nuanced geographical analysis, we also rely on spatial survey data from Afrobarometer. Our two-level mixed-effects and logistic estimations show that state-controlled oil production increases secondary education and lowers the share of the population without formal schooling. We find this effect to be particularly strong under local institutions that promote political accountability. In contrast, internationally controlled oil extraction seems to further local education only when property rights are enforced.