Extractive Industries and Poverty: A Review of Recent Findings and Linkage Mechanisms

Jonathan Gamu, Philippe Le Billon, Samuel Spiegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This article surveys fifty-two empirical studies on relationships between extractive industries and poverty, addressing both poverty impacts and possible linkage mechanisms. Distinguishing these studies by mode of resource extraction, we find industrial mining to be more frequently associated with poverty exacerbation, and artisanal mining with poverty reduction. Poverty exacerbation findings are more pronounced in cross-national statistical studies and ethnographic local case studies, especially when relative deprivation and longer-term impacts are taken into account; while sub-national census-based studies tend to show lower poverty levels in areas with extractive sector activities. A review of thirteen specific linkages between extractive industries and poverty highlights the importance of governance institutions and the limited effects of Corporate Social Responsibility activities. Methodologically, our survey points to the dominance of industrial mining-related data in cross-national and sub-national studies and the overlooked effects of artisanal and small-scale mining on poverty reduction at analytical scales larger than community-level. Such findings call for integrated studies assessing effects on poverty at various scales and attending to the specificities of mining-related livelihoods. Nested mixed-methods including place-based ethnographic observation, longitudinal surveys, as well as socioeconomic and political analysis across multiple scales are needed to provide more robust contextual understandings of the relationships between extractive sectors and poverty.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-176
JournalThe Extractive Industries and Society
Issue number1
Early online date9 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2015

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • extractive industries
  • poverty
  • development
  • mining
  • resource curse


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