Local Industrial Shocks, Female Empowerment and Infant Health: Evidence from Africa's Gold Mining Industry
Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 8:50 AM
Brickell North (Hyatt Regency Miami)
*Names in bold indicate Presenter
Can industrial development empower women in developing countries? This is the first paper to explore the causal effects of a continent-wide exogenous expansion of industry on female empowerment and infant health. The paper uses the recent rapid increase in gold mining in Africa as a quasi-experiment. The identification strategy relies on temporal (before and after mine opening) and spatial (distance to mine) variation, as well as exogenous variation in the price of gold in a difference-in-difference analysis. Using a large sample of women and children living within 100km of a mine, the analysis shows that the establishment of a new mine increases income earning opportunities within the service sector by 41%, a woman is 23% less likely to state a barrier to healthcare access for herself, and the acceptance rate of domestic violence decreases by 24%. Despite risks of environmental pollution from gold mining, infant mortality more than halves with the mine opening. In particular, girl infants face better chances of survival. I exclude the possibility that effects are driven by increased schooling attainment made possible by investment in schooling infrastructure, or that service jobs are limited to prostitution. I cannot rule out that urbanization is part of the mechanism. The findings are robust to different assumptions about trends, distance, migration, and withstand a novel spatial randomization test. The results support the idea that entrenched norms regarding gender can change rapidly in the presence of economic development.
- Draft-september15.pdf (3224.7KB)