Work in Progress

Mining, Rural Livelihoods and Food Security: A Disaggregated Analysis of Sub- Saharan Africa

with Jule Beck

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 gender-specific structural labor market shifts within extractive industries are contingent on mineral control rights. Our models show that within mining areas, only domestic ownership reduces male unemployment. While domestic mining seems to reinforce the traditional male breadwinner model, internationally owned mineral extraction induces structural labor market changes: women abandon subsistence farming activities and migrate to the service sector. Our results further indicate that this shift of traditional gender roles within rural mining areas is associate with less intimate partner violence.

The Micro-Foundations of the Resource Curse: Mineral 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 mining on local economic well-being is largely driven by different control right regimes. We claim that domestic mineral production stimulates local income more than internationally-controlled extraction, since national mining companies promote more backward economic linkages and have higher incentives to engage in local capacity building. To test our micro-level arguments, we combine information on districts’ economic well-being as well as individual’s assessments of their personal economic situation with our own data set on the control rights of copper, gold and diamond mines. Relying on this data, we perform district and individual-level analyses of sub-Saharan Africa covering the period from 1997 to 2015. Our instrumental variable estimations and fixed effects models show that the presence of domestic mining companies is associated with increased local wealth. Multinational firms, in contrast, seem to increase regional unemployment levels and fail to promote subnational economic well-being.