Quentin Stoeffler on Economic opportunities, education and child labor: the effects of artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso

WIDER Seminar Series

Quentin Stoeffler on Economic opportunities, education and child labor: the effects of artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso

Quentin Stoeffler presents at the WIDER Seminar Series on 29 March 2023.

Economic opportunities, education and child labor: the effects of artisanal gold mining in Burkina Faso


We investigate how new economic opportunities offered by artisanal gold mining —a sector that occupies 20% of the population— affect human capital investment in Burkina Faso. We use two sources of data. First we combine Demographic Health Surveys with mine permit locations nation-wide. Second we collected first-hand data on households and nearby artisanal gold mines in the central west region. We exploit the exogenous opening and location of gold mines in space (due to the geological conditions) and in time (due to a gold price boom after 2006) to identify the effects of the exposure to ASM on schooling. We find a significant, robust and strong negative effect of ASM on schooling, for boys in particular. We unpack the mechanisms related to income, child labor, labor substitution, and expectations regarding the returns to education. We find support for the two latter mechanisms for explaning the negative impact on education. In sum, our findings suggest that ASM causes negative externalities on human capital accumulation that need to be addressed if ASM is to contribute to poor household livelihoods.

About the presenter

Quentin Stoeffler is an Assistant professor in Economics at Bordeaux School of Economics. His research focuses on Development economics, specifically on issues related to poverty and poverty alleviation programs. Most of his work has been conducted in rural Africa, where he collaborates with the World Bank, national governments, and other partners, and in Turkey. He has conducted several impact evaluations related to social safety nets programs, such as cash transfers or micro-insurance, in order to understand how to support household strategies to improve their long-term wellbeing. He is particularly interested in poverty measurement, in the selection of social program beneficiaries (targeting), and in household risk coping and investment strategies. He also greatly enjoys conducting household surveys, fieldwork, and mixed-methods research, as he cares deeply about quantitative and qualitative data collection. Before joining BSE, Quentin was an Assistant professor in Economics at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Rabat and Istanbul Technical University. He has also worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Davis, and has collaborated with the World Bank since 2011. He holds an MA in Development Economics from Sciences Po and a PhD in Economics from Virginia Tech. For more information, see my personal website.

WIDER Seminar Series

The WIDER Seminar Series showcases the latest research on key topics in development economics. It provides a forum for senior and early-career researchers, both in-house and external, to present recent and ongoing work related to UNU-WIDER’s current work programme.

In addition to providing a forum for both academic debate and training, the series presents an opportunity for policy makers and others interested in development to learn about the latest research methods and findings.

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