Structural Change and Wife Abuse: A Disaggregated Study of Mineral Mining and Domestic Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1999–2013

Structural Change and Wife Abuse: A Disaggregated Study of Mineral Mining and Domestic Violence in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1999–2013

Source: Political Geography, 2017

Author(s): Andreas Kotsadam, Gudrun Østby, and Siri Aas Rustad

Topics: Extractive Resources, Gender, Livelihoods

Added: 15/02/2017

 

Mineral mining may be a mixed blessing for local communities. On the one hand, extractive industries can be a positive economic driver, generating considerable revenues, and opportunities for growth. On the other hand, mining is often thought to be associated with negative effects, such as pollution, and violent conflict. Existing research has shown that mine openings trigger a structural change in employment patterns in Africa, whereby women shift from agricultural work to the service sector, or leave the labor force. However, few if any systematic studies have addressed whether this structural shift may impact the level of violence within the household. Drawing on various versions of resource theory, we argue that mining – through such structural change – may increase women's risk of being abused by their partners. Recent advances in the literature on domestic violence (DV) suggest that prevailing gender norms moderate effects of resources. We test this empirically by matching georeferenced data on openings and closings of 147 industrial mines to individual data on abuse for up to 142,749 women from the Demographic and Health Surveys in 15 sub-Saharan African countries. We find no overall statistically significant effect of mine openings on the risk of partner abuse, although there are heterogeneous effects across countries. Furthermore, mining is associated with increased DV in areas with higher general acceptance of such abuse.

 

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