Mining, Rural Livelihoods and Food Security: A Disaggregated Analysis of Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa
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 and provide farmers with better market access. On the other hand, mineral production may contribute to the marginalization of poor smallholders and increase food insecurity by encouraging land grabs, creating new pressures on environmentally sensitive areas and promoting structural labor market shifts. Although the link between mining and food security has been increasingly discussed by the qualitative literature, it has not been analyzed in a quantitative comparative way thus far. Relying on geocoded survey data and novel information on the control rights of gold, diamond and copper mines in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, this paper is the first attempt to systematically test the effect of mining activities on local populations’ access to food. Preliminary results from logistic as well as fixed effects linear models using districts and individual mines as levels of analysis show that mining operations increase food insecurity among women in a substantial way. At the same time, they show no significant impact on men’s access to food. As the traditional role of women is closely intertwined with subsistence farming in many rural societies, they seem particularly vulnerable to mining-induced dispossession, environmental destruction and the boom and bust character of extractive industries.
Climate, Food Riots and Adaptation: A Disaggregated 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 over time – for example, in the context of long-term climate change. Are the effects likely to remain constant or do they change as a consequence of human adaptation to different weather conditions? To investigate this question, we rely on a disaggregated analysis of England over a period of more than 300 years. We first assess the basic assumption that adverse weather conditions negatively impact socioeconomic living conditions by increasing agricultural commodity prices. Combining data on geo-referenced food riots with reconstructed climate data, we then assess the impact of annual temperatures on social unrest over the period 1500–1817. Finally, we use our long-term time-series dataset to assess potential conditioning effects of adaptation on year-to-year associations between temperatures and social conflict. Our models show a substantive and consistent negative correlation between temperatures and wheat prices as well as between temperatures and food riots. In addition, we find evidence of decadal processes of adaptation: past exposure to adverse weather conditions dampens the effect of current exposure. Moreover, our results tentatively indicate that regions facing high weather vulnerability exhibit the strongest adaptation effects.
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 and that oil and mineral wealth increases female unemployment despite the often positive growth impact of natural resources. We re-examine this claim at the sub-state level in sub-Saharan African 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 relies on data from our Natural Resource Ownership dataset as well as survey data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Afrobarometer. Relying on logistic and linear regression models, we explore how the increased instability in mine regions with international investors affects the labor market integration of females. The regression results suggest in line with our theoretical expectation that the natural resource industry affects the employment outlook for women only marginally. However, within mining areas, international ownership is associated with higher female unemployment and more domestic violence. This result supports our earlier work on the importance of ownership arrangements in the extractive industries and the destabilizing effect that the attribution of ownership rights to international investors has in this domain. International investment in mining might undermine female empowerment and further grievances such as limited access to public education and increased exposure to gender-based violence.
The Micro-Foundations of the Resource Curse: Oil Ownership and Local Economic Well-Being in Sub-Saharan Africa
with Gerald Schneider and Arpita Khanna
Empirical tests of the “resource curse” thesis have provided inconclusive evidence for the core claim that natural resource abundance lowers economic growth. We argue that previous studies have largely ignored the importance of control rights regimes and that state-controlled resource production stimulates local income more than privately-controlled extraction. Our micro-level arguments are tested using information on local economic activity and a new data set that establishes the control rights over hydrocarbons at the individual extraction site. Our district and grid-level analyses of sub-Saharan Africa covering the period from 1997 to 2014 show that the presence of domestic national oil companies is associated with increased local growth, while international oil companies show no effect on economic development. We also find that state-controlled oil production particularly furthers local economic well-being under democratic institutions, good governance and low levels of corruption.
At Africa’s Expense? Disaggregating the Social Impact of Chinese Mining Operations
with Georg Strüver, Mario Krauser and Juliane Giesen
Qualitative studies and media reports suggest that the presence of Chinese oil or mining companies generates resentments among local extractive communities due to low wages, poor working conditions, environmental degradation, the employment of foreign labour, and perceived racial discrimination. At the same time, Chinese investment in the extractive sector appears to enhance local infrastructure. So far, these claims have not been empirically tested in a systematic way. Relying on novel data on the control‐rights regimes of diamond, gold, and copper mines and geo‐referenced information from Afrobarometer surveys, this paper examines whether Chinese‐controlled mining promotes anti‐Chinese sentiments among the local populations of sub‐Saharan African countries. In addition, we test the effect of mining contractors’ nationality on socio‐economic indicators such as local employment rates and infrastructure levels. Our logistic regression analysis for the period 1997–2014 reveals that the effect of Chinese mining companies on African local development is ambiguous: while proximity to Chinese‐operated mines is associated with anti‐Chinese sentiments and unemployment, populations living close to Chinese mining areas enjoy better infrastructure, such as paved roads or piped water. Multilevel mixed‐effects estimations using district‐level data from the Demographic Health Survey for 20 sub‐ Saharan countries corroborate these findings.
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.