The regional economics of mineral resource wealth in Africa, Economica, 1-30, 2024 (with Zareh Asatryan, Thushyanthan Baskaran, and Carlo Birkholz).

We study the regional economics of mineral resource activity in Africa. Using geocoded data on mine openings and closures in Africa, we document that mining regions experience local economic booms while a mine is in operation. We then explore how mineral resources affect non-mining regions. Non-mining regions might be affected by mining activity due to deliberate government policies (e.g. regional redistribution) or due to various inadvertent country-level macroeconomic adjustments (e.g. Dutch-Disease-type effects or declining institutional quality). Our results suggest that mineral resources have heterogeneous effects on non-mining regions. Politically important regions benefit economically, while generic non-mining regions are, in general, worse off. Exploring mechanisms, we find that these spatial patterns arguably emerge due to both deliberate government policies as well as Dutch-Disease-style macroeconomic adjustments that harm regions specializing in sectors other than mining.


Work in Progress and Working Papers

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Green parties and building permissions: Evidence from Bavarian municipalities

This paper studies whether the rise of environmental parties during the last few decades can provide an explanation for reduced housing supply. Specifically, we examine the impact of Green Party presence on short-term housing supply in Bavarian municipalities from 1987 to 2019. Using a set of staggered difference-in-differences approaches and a large panel data set, we find that the entry of Green Party members into municipal councils leads to an approximate 5.6% decrease in the short-term issuance of building permits. Our results suggest that even in minority positions, Green Party members can influence local decision-making through highlighting the negative externalities associated with construction projects. Moreover, this influence may lead to policy convergence, where other parties adopt some elements of the Green Party’s environmental agenda to appeal to environmentally conscious voters. Overall, our study contributes to understanding the trade-offs between housing supply and environmental protection in decentralized democratic settings and sheds light on the role of Green Party members in shaping local land use policy.



Conflicts and political intervention: Evidence from the Anti-Open Grazing laws in Nigeria (with Chukwuma Ume)

This paper empirically investigates the effects of Anti-Open Grazing Laws (AOGLs) on herder-farmer conflicts in Nigeria. The laws, enacted as a response to escalating violent conflicts over fertile land resources between herders and farmers, aimed to reduce clashes by prohibiting livestock grazing in specific areas and periods. Our study employs a geographic difference-in-discontinuities design, leveraging the sharp change in legal conditions at state borders and the panel structure of our data. We integrate conflict data from the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) with spatially disaggregated microdata to analyze how AOGLs influence conflict incidence across regions of Nigeria. Our findings indicate limited effectiveness of AOGLs in curbing herder-farmer conflicts, suggesting instead a displacement of conflicts. It also appears that the laws have led to a slight increase in overall conflict within the states implementing them, arguably due to increased engagements between herder or farmer groups and security forces. These results underscore the need for more comprehensive, context-specific interventions to address the root causes of herder-farmer conflicts.



Favoritism by the Governing Elite (with Zareh Asatryan, Thushyanthan Baskaran, and Carlo Birkholz)

In this paper, we study the extent to which ministers engage in regional favoritism. We are the first to provide a comprehensive analysis of a larger set of the governing elite, not just focusing on the primary leader. We manually collect birthplaces of this governing elite globally. Combining this information with extended nighttime luminosity and novel population data over the period from 1992 to 2016, we utilize a staggered difference-in-differences estimator and find that birthplaces of ministers globally emit on average roughly 9% more nightlight. This result is predominantly attributable to the African sub-sample. We find no evidence that the measured effect is driven by, or induces, migration to the home regions of ministers. The size of our data set lets us investigate heterogeneities along a number of dimensions: political power, ministerial portfolio, and the institutional setting.



Regional Favoritism and Human Capital Accumulation in Africa (with Zareh Asatryan, Thushyanthan Baskaran, and Alexander Stöcker)

We study the long-run implications of regional and ethnic favoritism in Africa. Combining geocoded individual-level survey data from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) with data on national leaders’ birthplaces across 41 African countries, we explore the educational attainment of adults who were exposed to favoritism at various points during their life. We find that generic male respondents exposed to regional favoritism during their adolescence have higher educational attainment later in life. This higher human capital accumulated by men leads to more stable employment later in life. For generic women, we observe no beneficial effects of regional favoritism. However, those women who belong to the same ethnic group as their national leader witness an increase in their educational attainment. These results indicate that regular inhabitants rather than only a narrow elite benefit from regional favoritism.



Political Favoritism and Internal Migration in Benin (with Thushyanthan Baskaran and Alexander Stöcker)

In this paper we explore the role of regional connections with a national leader as a pull factor of internal migration in Benin by exploiting granular census data over the period 1991-2013. The empirical analysis is based on a gravity model of migration and utilizes a PPML estimator. Controlling for a diverse set of fixed effects, we show that being connected to a national leader goes along with statistically significant levels of migration into the respective districts. We also provide more detailed evidence that links these migration movements to the presence of political favoritism through its ability to improve economic opportunities and the access to public goods at the local level. The evidence in this paper blends in well with the related literature on political favoritism extending it by a previously unexplored dimension.



M. Buchner, P. Hufschmidt: Verschuldung, in: Staatslexikon8 online

M. Buchner, P. Hufschmidt: Verschuldung, private, in: Staatslexikon8 online