A gendered resource curse? Mineral ownership, female unemployment and domestic violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Ein genderpezifischer Ressourcenfluch? Eigentumsrechte im Bergbau, weibliche Arbeitslosigkeit und häusliche Gewalt in Subsahara-Afrika

Abstract

Several studies suggest that the extractive industry has negative consequences for gender equality despite the often positive growth impact of natural resources. We re-examine this claim at the sub-state level in sub-Saharan Africa and argue that we need to differentiate between ownership arrangements in the extractive industry. To test our argument on the gender dimension of the resource curse, this article employs unique data on the control rights of minerals within sub-Saharan countries as well as data from Afrobarometer and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS). Our quantitative analyses explore how international vs. domestic ownership of copper, diamond and gold mines affects the labor market integration of females and intimate partner violence. The regression results suggest in line with our theoretical expectations that gender-specific structural labor market shifts within extractive industries are contingent on mineral control rights. Our models show that within mining areas, only domestic ownership reduces male unemployment. While domestic mining seems to reinforce the traditional male breadwinner model, internationally owned mineral extraction induces structural labor market changes: women abandon subsistence farming activities and migrate to the service sector. Our results further indicate that this shift of traditional gender roles within rural mining areas is associated with less intimate partner violence.

Zusammenfassung

Mehrere Studien deuten darauf hin, dass sich der Bergbau von wertvollen Mineralien trotz seiner positiven Wachstumseffekte negativ auf die Gleichstellung der Geschlechter auswirkt. Wir überprüfen diese Behauptung für Subsahara-Afrika und argumentieren, dass wir zwischen den Eigentumsverhältnissen in der mineralgewinnenden Industrie unterscheiden müssen. Um diese Hypothese zur Geschlechterdimension des Ressourcenfluches zu testen, verwendet dieser Artikel einen neuen Datensatz zu den Kontrollrechte in der rohstoffgewinnenden Industrie sowie Daten aus Afrobarometern sowie den Demographie- und Gesundheitsbefragungen (DHS). Unsere quantitativen Analysen untersuchen, wie sich der internationale vs. inländische Besitz von Kupfer-, Diamant- und Goldminen auf die Arbeitsmarktintegration von Frauen und die interpersonelle Gewalt auswirkt. Die Regressionsergebnisse deuten im Einklang mit unseren theoretischen Erwartungen darauf hin, dass geschlechtsspezifische strukturelle Arbeitsmarktveränderungen im Bergbau von den Eigentumsrechten in diesem Sektor abhängen. Unsere Modelle zeigen, dass Bergbaugebiete mit inländischen Eigentümern eher eine Reduktion der Arbeitslosigkeit von Männern erfahren. Während ein von Inländern dominierter Minensektor das traditionelle männliche Broternährer-Modell zu stärken scheint, führt der international kontrollierte Bergbau zu strukturellen Arbeitsmarktveränderungen: Frauen verlassen die Subsistenzwirtschaft und wandern in den Dienstleistungssektor ab. Unsere Ergebnisse zeigen weiterhin, dass diese Verschiebung der traditionellen Geschlechterrollen in ländlichen Bergbaugebieten mit einer Reduktion der Gewalt zwischen Intimpartnern verbunden ist.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    Local content laws require foreign companies to use the local labor force and local firms for the procurement of goods and services (see Tordo et al. 2013).

  2. 2.

    We have deliberately chosen round six because our data on mining control rights cover the period 1997–2015.

  3. 3.

    We check the robustness of our results using different time spans (5- and 6‑years periods) when calculating the number of active mines within buffer zones. All results remain qualitatively unchanged.

  4. 4.

    This variable is based on the question “Do you have a job that pays a cash income? If yes, is it full-time or part-time? If no, are you presently looking for a job?” Note that Afrobarometer also asks individuals whether they are unemployed and not actively looking for a job (which is commonly the case for e.g. housewives or women working in subsistence farming).

  5. 5.

    The dummy variable corruption equals 1 if the interviewee thinks that most or all of local government councilors are corrupt.

  6. 6.

    The variable living conditions equals 1 if respondents consider their current living conditions as being better or much better than the conditions of others in their country.

  7. 7.

    The district information was assigned to the coordinates of each survey cluster using GIS software and spatial data from the Global Administrative Unit Layers (GAUL). Following the strategy of Fjelde and Østby (2014), we matched the coordinates from DHS survey clusters with district information from GAUL polygons using the software QGIS. The district information was then assigned to surveyed households through the DHS cluster identifier variable.

  8. 8.

    These kinds of measures were not collected by Afrobarometer.

  9. 9.

    These tables are available upon request.

  10. 10.

    The appendix provides an overview of distribution of the independent mine ownership variables. Out of 4388 sampled DHS districts, only a limited number has hosted mining activities during the period under consideration. The majority of the mines in our sample are internationally controlled. Furthermore, most respondents only experience the impact of one mine in their district.

  11. 11.

    When calculating averages for only those observations that are non-missing in model 4 and 6, these percentages are slightly higher.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the editorial team of ZeFKo, guest editor Nils Weidmann and two anonymous reviewers for their guidance and comments on earlier versions of the article.

Funding

Financial support from the German Research Foundation (DFG), as part of the research project “Resource Management and Intrastate Conflict” (WE 4850/1-2), is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Mario Krauser.

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Krauser, M., Wegenast, T., Schneider, G. et al. A gendered resource curse? Mineral ownership, female unemployment and domestic violence in Sub-Saharan Africa. Z Friedens und Konflforsch 8, 213–237 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s42597-019-00019-8

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Keywords

  • Resource curse
  • Gender equality
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Labor market integration

Schlüsselwörter

  • Ressourcenfluch
  • Gleichstellung der Geschlechter
  • Gewalt in der Partnerschaft
  • Arbeitsmarktintegration