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The Gold Digger and the Machine. Evidence on the Distributive Effect of the Artisanal and Industrial Gold Rushes in Burkina Faso

Abstract : This paper uses a quasi-natural experiment, the recent gold boom in Burkina Faso, to document the local impact of two alternative mining techniques: artisanal and industrial mining. Artisanal mines have a bad reputation. When these mines (labor intensive and managed in common) compete for land with industrial mines (capital intensive and privatized), governments tend to favor the latter. However, more than 100 million people depend on artisanal mines for a livelihood. Our identification strategy exploits two sources of variation. The spatial variation comes from the exposure of households to different geological endowments, and the temporal variation comes from changes in the global gold price. We are the first to document the economic impact of artisanal mines. We show that a 1% increase in the gold price increases consumption by 0.12% for households near artisanal mines. Opening an industrial mine, in contrast, has no impact on local consumption.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, February 19, 2020 - 10:21:20 AM
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Rémi Bazillier, Victoire Girard. The Gold Digger and the Machine. Evidence on the Distributive Effect of the Artisanal and Industrial Gold Rushes in Burkina Faso. Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, 2020, 143, pp.102411. ⟨10.1016/j.jdeveco.2019.102411⟩. ⟨halshs-02348439⟩

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