We document the local impact of two alternative mining techniques: artisanal (labor intensive, managed in commons) and industrial (mechanized, privatized). Our identification strategy exploits two sources of variation: geological endowments in gold in Burkina Faso and changes in the global gold price. We show that artisanal mining has a positive local economic impact. Opening an industrial mine, in contrast, has no impact. Thus, we provide an innovative quantification of the impact of artisanal mines (and industrial mines opening). We also contribute to the debate on the relative advantages of private versus common management of a resource.
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