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Phasing out mercury through collective action in artisanal gold mining: Evidence from a framed field experiment

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  • Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián
  • Villegas-Palacio, Clara
  • Arango, Santiago

Abstract

The application of practices such as mercury amalgamation makes small-scale gold mining an economic activity with a high negative impact on health and the environment. Associative entrepreneurship – collective action – has been proposed as a scheme that would bring cleaner technologies to miners, in order to reduce the harmful effects of using mercury in the gold recovery. In this paper we investigate the extent to which miners can establish and sustain an association that aims to fulfill these goals. This is done by conducting a framed experiment with small-scale gold miners in Colombia. We test the effect of two institutional arrangements on associative entrepreneurship: exclusion and co-management. We found that miners made contributions that did not allow a sustained acquisition of the technology. However, we found that under co-management players could achieve long-lasting and efficient levels of individual contribution; but, conversely, exclusion did not trigger this kind of collective action. Policy implications of our results and avenues for further experimental research are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Saldarriaga-Isaza, Adrián & Villegas-Palacio, Clara & Arango, Santiago, 2015. "Phasing out mercury through collective action in artisanal gold mining: Evidence from a framed field experiment," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 120(C), pages 406-415.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:120:y:2015:i:c:p:406-415
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.04.004
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    1. repec:eee:ecolec:v:144:y:2018:i:c:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Fritz, Morgane M.C. & Maxson, Peter A. & Baumgartner, Rupert J., 2016. "The mercury supply chain, stakeholders and their responsibilities in the quest for mercury-free gold," Resources Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 177-192.

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