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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

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  • Rémi BAZILLIER
  • Victoire GIRARD

Abstract

We use a quasi-natural experiment, the recent gold boom in Burkina Faso, to document the local wealth impact of private versus common property management. The net impact of privatizing the management of a natural resource on wealth is subject to theoretical debate. We measure household wealth through consumption and consider two modes of property management: artisanal and industrial mines. Artisanal mines are labor intensive and managed as a common property. Industrial mines are capital intensive and privatize the resource by enclosing their production area. We identify the impact of each mode of gold extraction by exploiting two sources of variation: changes in the gold price and the geological setting of Burkina Faso. We show that a 1% increase in the gold price increases consumption by 0.2% for households neighboring artisanal mines, while we do not find any effect for households neighboring industrial mines. Thus, while the privatization and industrialization of production increases efficiency, in accordance with much of the literature on the commons, the distributive consequences of each mode of property management are such that artisanal mines benefit more to the local communities.
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  • Rémi BAZILLIER & Victoire GIRARD, 2017. "The gold digger and the machine. Evidence on the distributive effect of the artisanal and industrial gold rushes in Burkina Faso," LEO Working Papers / DR LEO 2545, Orleans Economics Laboratory / Laboratoire d'Economie d'Orleans (LEO), University of Orleans.
  • Handle: RePEc:leo:wpaper:2545
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    4. Vincent Géronimi & Claire Mainguy, 2020. "Exploitation minière et développement : des effets toujours controversés. Introduction," Mondes en développement, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(1), pages 7-29.
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    7. Cust,James Frederick & Mensah,Justice Tei, 2020. "Natural Resource Discoveries, Citizen Expectations and Household Decisions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9372, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • L72 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Other Nonrenewable Resources
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • Q32 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Exhaustible Resources and Economic Development
    • Q33 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Resource Booms (Dutch Disease)
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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