This project explores the perverse consequences of a 2006 reform to India’s environmental clearance process, which approves or rejects development projects based on their environmental risks. We focus on clearances in India’s large mining sector, which is associated with substantial deforestation and air and water pollution. While the 2006 overhaul to India’s clearance process increased its stringency and transparency for large mines, it also left in place a loophole where mines with area under 5 ha were not required to seek clearance. In response, we see a large and persistent shift towards small mining leases outside of the system’s purview. Perhaps driven by this strategic response, we find preliminary evidence that the average impact of mines on air pollution and deforestation was more severe following the 2006 reform.
We are seeking one RA to help us understand the shifts in the mining industry caused by the 2006 reform. In particular, we hope to assess whether the reform caused new small mining companies to enter the market or just caused existing large firms to switch to smaller mining leases. To examine that, we need to match mining leaseholder names across a directory of leases that we’ve digitized from the Indian Bureau of Mines and then analyze the set of mining leaseholders over time. The RA will work closely with a PhD student at MIT to co-lead this matching process and analysis.
Requisite Skills and Qualifications:
The ideal applicant would have intermediate experience in Stata.