Anja Tolonen, Gothenburg University: "Strike Gold: Gold mining and Female Empowerment"
Can industrial development increase women's empowerment in developing countries? This is the first paper to causally explore the effects of a continent wide establishment of an industry on female empowerment and infant health. The paper uses the recent rapid expansion in gold mining in Africa as a quasi-experiment. The identification strategy relies on temporal (before and after mine opening) and spatial variation (distance to mine), 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 from a mine, the analysis shows that the establishment of a new mine increases income earning opportunities within the service sector by 41%, women are 23% less likely to state a barrier to health care access for herself and women's acceptance 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. The results are robust to different assumptions about trends, distance, migration, and withstand a novel spatial randomization test.