Mining and Local Corruption in Africa

Andreas Kotsadam, Eivind Hammersmark Olsen, Carl Henrik Knutsen and Tore Wig

Memo 9/2015


We investigate whether mining affects local-level corruption in Africa. Several cross-country analyses report that natural resource production and wealth have adverse effects on political institutions, for instance by increasing corruption, whereas other country-level studies show no evidence of such "political resource curses". These studies face well-known endogeneity and other methodological issues, and employing alternative designs and micro-level data would allow for drawing stronger inferences. Hence, we connect 90,000 survey respondents in four Afrobarometer survey waves to spatial data on about 500 industrial mines. Using a difference-in-differences strategy, we find evidence that mining increases bribe payments. Mines are initially located in less corrupt areas, but mining areas turn more corrupt after mines open and actively produce. A closer study of South Africa - using even more precise spatial matching of mines and survey respondents - corroborates the continent-wide results. Hence, mineral production is, indeed, a "curse" to local institutions.

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Published Apr. 28, 2015 2:45 PM - Last modified Jan. 24, 2019 11:44 AM