Research

Local Industrial Shocks and Infant Mortality
The Economic Journal (2018).
Abstract:
 Local industrial development has the potential to improve health and well‐being, while also damaging health through exposure to harmful pollution. It is an empirical question which of these effects dominate. Exploiting the quasi‐experimental expansion of African large‐scale gold mining, I find that local infant mortality rates decrease by more than 50% alongside rapid economic growth. The instantaneous reduction is comparable to overall gains in infant survival rates in the study countries from 1970 to today. The results are robust to migration. Local industrial development – despite risk of pollution – may be an effective tool to reduce infant mortality in developing countries.

African Mining, Gender and Local Employment 
Andreas Kotsadam and Anja Tolonen
World Development (2016).
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

 

Working Papers

Endogenous Gender Roles: Evidence from Africa’s Gold Mining Industry [Working Paper 2019] OxCarre Research Paper 209. Under Review.
This paper was previously circulated as “Local Industrial Shocks, Female Empowerment and Infant Health: Evidence from Africa’s Gold Mining Industry” (2014). Under Review. 

Africa_map_5Abstract: Does industrial development change gender roles? This is the first paper to causally explore the local effects of a continent-wide exogenous expansion of a modern industry on gender roles. 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 roles and female empowerment: 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 roles 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

Norms Formation: Gold Rush and Women’s Roles (with Sandra Aguilar Gomez, Columbia University) (SSRN working paper, November 2018)

Abstract: Does the mining-driven scarcity of women affect gender norms? Do gender norms persist over time? We explore the Gold Rush in Western United States in the late 19th-century as a natural experiment to answer these questions. 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 persistent changes in women’s labor market participation and marriage market opportunities. Gold mining, through the oversupply of marriageable men with income, increased (decreased) marriage rates among women (men). Women married 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. Using all subsequent censuses up until 1940, we show that the effects persist over time.

Extractive Industries and Gender: A review (with Sarah Baum) [Draft available upon request]
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 
Invited submission at Review of Environmental Economics and Policy

Extractive Industries, Price Shocks and Criminality with Sebastian Axbard, and Jonas Poulsen)
Abstract: A large literature has highlighted the potential detrimental effects of natural resource wealth on social, economic and political outcomes. We study a previously largely unexplored relationship — the impact of natural resource wealth on criminal activity. Our empirical strategy exploits price fluctuations in 15 internationally traded minerals to study the impact of mineral wealth on local crime levels in South Africa — leveraging detailed crime data from 1,084 police precincts over 10 years. We find that increased mineral wealth leads to a reduction in criminal activity. An exploration of mechanisms suggest that the effect is due to changes in employment opportunities created by the mining industry, affecting the opportunity cost of engaging in criminal activity. Consistent with this we also document that results are driven by property crime and that mines are less likely to close down when prices are high. Our results suggest that downward shifts in international mineral prices can cause surges in crime. To investigate how resilience against such surges can be achieved, we exploit the roll-out of a government employment guarantee program and document that the program reduces the crime response to changes in international mineral prices.
Media coverage: Development Impact, Fight Entropy
First Version: January 2015
This Version: August 2019

Pupil Absenteeism, Measurement and Menstruation: Evidence from Western Kenya [Working Paper, 2019]
(with Garazi Zulaika, Penelope A. Phillips-Howard et al)
Due to data limitations it is unclear if biological processes such as periods hinder girls in developing countries from participating in school to a greater extent than boys. We collect 32,000 unannounced random spot-checks for 6,000 students in Kenya to assess if girls miss more school than boys. Although absenteeism is common among both boys and gils, with pubescent girls miss more schooldays because of school transfers. Boys miss more days because of illness compared to girls. Cohen’s kappa coefficient reveals non-random inconsistencies across the spot-check data and school registers, which would lead to bias if school register data were used in impact evaluations. To illustrate this point, we replicate the results from a three-arm pilot cluster randomized control trial that provided sanitary products to schoolgirls to reduce absenteeism using the school records instead of the spot-checks for the same calendar dates. Using the school record data, we would draw erroneous conclusions regarding the treatment effects.
Blog post coverage: FaiV by David Evans

Measuring Menstruation-related Absenteeism Among Adolescents in Low-Income Countries. 
(with Garazi Zulaika, Marni Sommer, and Penelope A. Phillips-Howard ) Under Review.
Abstract: Managing menstruation is an issue for adolescent girls in low-income countries, possibly impacting their dignity, engagement with day-to-day activities, health, and educational engagement. For multiple reasons, girls are considered more vulnerable to missing school than boys, and it is widely reported that many girls miss school during their periods—due to limited economic and physical resources or unsupportive school environments. One research question receiving attention is if providing menstrual hygiene products to schoolgirls reduces absenteeism and increases school enrollment and retainment rates. However, to date, quantitative studies have not yet clearly and consistently demonstrated these effects. We highlight two main methodological issues in existing studies: first, the use of data sources with risk of bias, such as school records, or recall data, is common, without recognition of competing reasons for absence among girls and boys. Second, limiting the focus to absenteeism (and particularly just menstrual related absence) hinders our understanding of the threats that menstruation poses to educational attainment and psychosocial aspects of schoolgirls lives. We recommend the use of mixed-methods, pre-analysis plans, and thoughtful consideration and validation of variables a priori to study implementation. We caution policy makers against over-relying on absenteeism as the sole predictor and over-interpreting results from existing studies that often lack both scope and precision. Additionally, we call for more research on overlooked outcomes, such as concentration in school, learning, self-esteem, and pain management.

 

Work-in-progress

Sanitary Products, Absenteeism and Psychosocial Wellbeing: Evidence from a Cluster Randomized Controlled Feasibility Study in Kenya (with Garazi Zulaika, Penelope A. Phillips-Howard et al)
Does lack of access to sanitary products hinder girls’ access to education in developing countries? We conduct the first cluster randomized controlled feasibility study that provided different sanitary technologies (sanitary pads or menstrual cup) to primary schoolgirls. Sanitary pads led to a 7.9 percentage point reduction in absenteeism. However, both sanitary pads and menstrual cups had important effects beyond reducing school absences, such as improved emotional, social and physical well-being (5.2-6.2% increases). Previous narrow focus on absences limits our understanding of the effect that sanitary products have schoolgirls’ welfare. The results tentatively point toward a tradeoff between strong initial effects of an easy to adopt disposable product compared with delayed and sustained effects of a more complex reusable technology.

Knowledge and Attitudes Toward Menstruation: Survey of Adolescent Boys in Tanzania (with Sandra Aguilar-Gomez, Elias Charles Nyanza, and Naomi Heller Batzer)

The Role of Stigma Surrounding Menstruation and Schooling: Evidence from Tanzania (with Sandra Aguilar-Gomez)

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

 

Interdisciplinary publications

The Local Socioeconomic Effects of Gold Mining: Evidence from Ghana:
Anja Benshaul-Tolonen, Punam Chuhan-Pole, Andrew Dabalen, Andreas Kotsadam, and Aly Sanoh. Forthcoming in Extractive Industries and Society (2019).

Ghana is experiencing its third gold rush, and this paper sheds light on the socioeconomic impacts of this rapid expansion in industrial production. Using a rich dataset consisting of geocoded household data combined with detailed information on gold mining activities, we conduct two types of difference-in-differences estimations that provide complementary evidence. The first is a local-level analysis that identifies an economic footprint area very close to a mine, and the second is a district-level analysis that captures the fiscal channel. The results indicate that men are more likely to benefit from direct employment as miners compared to men further away, and that women in mining communities may more likely gain from indirect employment opportunities and earn cash for work. We also find that infant mortality rates decrease significantly in mining communities, compared to the evolution in communities further away.

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.

Understanding environmental, health and economic activity interactions following transition of ownership in gold mining areas in Tanzania: A case of private to public 

Sophia Rhee, Elias Charles Nyanza, Madison Condon, Joshua Fisher, Theresia Maduka, and Anja Benshaul-Tolonen.
Land Use Policy (2018)
Abstract: Mining is an important source of revenue for many developing countries, however, the social, environmental and economic impacts of mining are often poorly monitored. The recent transition of a gold mine in Western Tanzania—from large-scale gold mine under private, multinational ownership, to medium-scale public and national owned mine with limited life length offers a prime opportunity to understand the implications of changes in ownership and scale on the local economy and community well-being. We conducted 44 semi-structured interviews with community members in four villages adjacent to the mine site. We find that the local economy and public service provision contracted in response to the mine transition and downscaling, with ramifications for food security and healthcare access. Community members also highlighted the lack of information surrounding the mine transformation. This illustrates that considering the post-transition phase of large-scale mines is important for providing long run sustainable livelihood strategies in mining communities.

Books/Book chapters

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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