Local Industrial Shocks and Infant Mortality [working paper 2018]
(Forthcoming in The Economic Journal)
OxCarre Research Paper 208 (Working paper, April 2018)
A subset of the results were previously circulated in the paper “Local Industrial Shocks, Female Empowerment and Infant Health: Evidence from Africa’s Gold Mining Industry” (2014).
Reaching the sustainable development goals for infant mortality by 2030 in Sub-Saharan Africa is a significant policy challenge. Industrial development, especially in rural and underdeveloped areas, will be important in its achievement. The extractives sector, which dominates foreign direct investment in the region, can spur local economic growth but is associated with the release of pollutants — arsenic, cyanide and lead — with known adverse health effects. This paper explores how the risk of infant mortality changes with local industrial development spurred by the recent expansion of large-scale gold mining across Sub-Saharan Africa. It tracks birth and survival rates of 37,000 children born within 100 km of an industrial gold mine. The opening of a new large gold mine reduces infant mortality by between 55 to 79 deaths per 1000 births —more than a 50% reduction— within the area 10 km from the mine. The local drop in mortality rate happening within a couple of years is more than twice the drop experienced in Singapore during the period of high sustained economic growth in the 1950s and the 1960s, and more than the average reduction in infant mortality in Sub- Saharan Africa since the 1970s. The results are robust to migration, different distances and across model specifications. The findings illustrate that even a polluting industry can increase infant survival rates in areas with a high level of preexisting disease burden related to poverty. The long run health implications of the industry, however, remain unknown.

African Mining, Gender and Local Employment (2016).
Joint with Andreas Kotsadam. World Development.
Previous version: World Bank Policy Research Working Paper (WPS7251) “African Mining, Gender and Local Employment” (2015). OxCarre Working Paper Series “Mineral Mining and Female Employment” (2013). 
Abstract: It is a contentious issue whether large-scale mining creates local employment, and the sector has been accused of hurting women’s labor supply and economic opportunities. This paper uses the rapid expansion of mining in Sub-Saharan Africa to analyze local structural shifts. We match 109 openings and 84 closings of industrial mines to survey data for 800,000 individuals and exploit the spatial-temporal variation. With mine opening, women living within 20 km of a mine switch from self-employment in agriculture to working in services or they leave the work force. Men switch from agriculture to skilled manual labor. Effects are stronger in years of high world prices. Mining creates local boom-bust economies in Africa, with permanent effects on women’s labor market participation.
Blog post: Let’s Talk Development, World Economic Forum
Press release:  University of Gothenburg
Media coverage: Women in Mining Mail (2014)
Long summary: UNRISD Think Piece

Aligning conservation efforts with resource use around protected areas
Nandini Velho, Ruth S. DeFries, Anja Tolonen, Umesh Srinivasan, Aditi Patil
Ambio, 2018
Abstract: A large number of economically disadvantaged people live around protected areas. Conservation efforts that focus on poverty alleviation, work on the premise that an increase in household wealth decreases use of forest resources. We surveyed 1222 households across four tiger reserves to test the paradigm that an increase in assets leads to reduced forest use and we also assess the effects of other socio-economic factors. We find that increase in assets may reduce Non-timber Forest Product (NTFP) collection, but may not necessarily reduce livestock numbers or use of wood as a cooking fuel. Households that faced more economic setbacks were more likely to state that they wanted more livestock in the future. Education is positively associated with choosing Liquefied Petroleum Gas as a cooking fuel in the future. We find site and resource-specific variation. Fifty percent of all households (range across sites: 6–98) want to collect NTFP while 91% (range: 87–96) want to retain or own more livestock over the next 5–10 years. Understanding current and future resource use will help plan context-specific conservation efforts that are better aligned with reducing specific pressures around protected areas.


Endogenous Gender Norms: Evidence from Africa’s Gold Mining Industry [working paper 2018] OxCarre Research Paper 209 (May, 2018)
This paper was previously circulated as “Local Industrial Shocks, Female Empowerment and Infant Health: Evidence from Africa’s Gold Mining Industry” (2014).

Africa_map_5Abstract: Does industrial development change gender norms? This is the first paper to causally explore the local effects of a continent-wide exogenous expansion of a modern industry on gender norms. The identification strategy relies on plausibly exogenous temporal and spatial variation in gold mining in Africa. The establishment of an industrial-scale mine changes local gender norms: justification of domestic violence decreases by 19%, women have better access to healthcare, and are 31% more likely to work in the service sector. The effects happen alongside rapid economic growth. The findings are robust to assumptions about trends, distance, and migration, and withstand a spatial randomization test. The results show that entrenched gender norms can change rapidly in the presence of economic development.
Press release:  University of Gothenburg
Media coverage: Women in Mining, Global Witness
Video summary: Video from the World Bank, November 2014. The session was chaired by Jeffrey Thindwa, World Bank Practice Manager, Governance. Discussants: Kristina Svenson, World Bank Senior Operations Officer, Energy and Extractives, and Lucia Hanmer, World Bank Lead Gender Economist.
[Click here for 2014 version of the paper]

Extractive Industries, Production Shocks and Criminality: Evidence from a Middle-Income Country [draft] (joint with Sebastian Axbard, and Jonas Poulsen)
Abstract: The role of extractive industries for development is highly debated. A large literature focusing on countries with weak institutions has shown that such industries can spur conflict and war by providing appropriable resources. This study investigates whether this relationship holds true later in the development process. More specifically, we examine whether the extensive mining industry in South Africa affects local property and violent crime. To estimate the causal effect, our empirical strategy exploits local production changes caused by fluctuations in international mineral prices. In contrast to earlier studies, we find that an increase in mining activity lowers the local crime rate. Several tests suggest that this effect is driven by better income opportunities, affecting the opportunity cost of engaging in criminal activity. In order for this effect to materialize, local institutional quality needs to be sufficiently high. If such conditions are met, the appropriation channel emphasized in the earlier literature is dominated by the change in opportunity costs of crime.
Media coverage: Development Impact, Fight Entropy

Gold Rush and Marriage Markets (with Sandra Aguilar Gomez, Columbia University)

Abstract: How does scarcity of women affect gender norms? We explore the gold rush in Western United States in the late 19th century as a natural experiment to answer this question. We use a geographic difference-in-difference methodology, exploiting the location and discovery of the gold deposits and its influence on sex ratios, to understand short term and medium term changes in women’s labor market participation and marriage market opportunities. Gold mining, and the oversupply of marriageable men with income, increased marriage rates among women. Women also married up: older men with higher prestige occupations. In parallel, the gold rush created a market based service sector economy, potentially catering to men with money but poor marriage prospects. We find support for the hypothesis that these effects persist in the medium term using the 1940 census, also when controlling for contemporaneous sex ratio and presence of mining.

Extractive Industries and Gender: A review (joint with Sarah Baum, Barnard College)
Abstract: Extractive industries — oil, gas and mining — provide important opportunities for economic development in low and middle-income countries. In light of the extensive literature on the perils of natural resource extraction for economic development, one social aspect has received little empirical and theoretical attention: the gender effects of the sector. Extractive industries are generally associated with male labor, both due to the competitive advantage of men in the production process, and social norms and stigma hindering women’s participation. This paper reviews the existing literature on gender and extractive industries, covering topics such as income inequality, labor force participation, marriage markets and health effects.
Blog post: NRGI 

Seasonality of Attitudes on Violence Against Women (with Jesse Anttila-Hughes and Yaniv Stopnitzky, University of San Francisco)
Abstract: We assemble a unique dataset on over 700,000 women’s attitudes towards intimate partner violence drawn from 38 countries in the Demographic and Health Surveys between 1992 and 2011. We first document substantial variation in whether women believe that domestic violence is sometimes justifiable, and in particular find large declines in violence acceptance with increasing education, wealth, and age. We then turn to the rural sub sample to identify plausibly exogenous changes in economic well being associated with rainfall failures, and find that a one standard deviation decrease in rainfall below the mean is associated with a 1.87 percentage point increase in acceptance of violence. Together our results demonstrate that women’s willingness to accept intimate partner violence is strongly elastic to variation in both income and measures of women’s empowerment.
Blog posts: Development Impact


Asymmetric Information in the Household: Fathers and Child Welfare (with Eeshani Kandpal, The World Bank, and Carolin Sjoholm, University of Gothenburg)

The Role of Stigma Surrounding Menstruation and Schooling: Evidence from Tanzania (in collaboration with Femme International)



Mining in Africa: Are Local Communities Better Off? By Punam Chuhan-Pole, Andrew L. Dabalen, and Bryan Christopher Land, in collaboration with Michael Lewin, Aly Sanoh, Gregory Smith, and Anja Tolonen. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / The World Bank, 2017.

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