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Mining and Alcohol Consumption: New Evidence from Northern Canada Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Godfrey, Todd L
Supervisor and department
Wichmann, Bruno (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Parlee, Brenda (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Parkins, John (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Adamowicz, Vic (Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology)
Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology
Agricultural and Resource Economics
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Science
Degree level
Mines operate throughout the world to keep up with the growing demand for mineral resources. While economic development depends on the minerals mines extract, there can be environmental, economic, and social effects to areas and communities nearby. This thesis focuses on the impact of mining on alcohol consumption. Existing literature provides qualitative findings regarding social changes that may occur during a mining boom, possibly correlated with an increase in alcohol use by individuals who live in communities nearby. However, to the best of our knowledge, the literature fails to offer quantitative evidence of such impacts obtained through rigorous statistical methods. In order to determine a measurable effect of mining on alcohol consumption in communities nearby, this study collects data from various sources to build a unique dataset of individuals in northern Canada. Our dataset includes Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates of respondents and operating mines, which allows us to estimate the number of additional alcoholic drinks individuals consume due to living near a mine. Northern Canada is an important area of focus due to the many small and isolated resource reliant communities, the large share of Aboriginal peoples in the total population, and the concentration of mines. Our estimation technique relies on propensity score matching. This is important because the respondent's location of residence (i.e. proximity to a mine) may be endogenously determined. Our rich dataset allows us to match respondents that live close to a mine with respondents that live far. The matching is based on a large number of important socioeconomic covariates such as income, employment, consumption, education, age, gender, marital status, ethnicity, lifestyle, and seasonality. Results are consistent with the established qualitative literature. We estimate that individuals who live within 10 km of a mine consume, on average, an additional 2 alcoholic drinks a week. This effect decreases as mines get farther away. Additionally, we use unconditional quantile regressions to find that the effect of mines is larger for individuals to the right of the mean of the distribution of alcohol consumption. We compare our estimates with those from other studies that examine various factors that influence alcohol consumption. This exercise puts our estimates in perspective and shows that the effect of proximity to mines is larger than, for example, proximity to casinos or bars. The thesis provides empirical evidence that supports past qualitative studies, which may aid the implementation of more effective policies that can improve wellbeing in these small rural communities near mines and facilitate more sustainable development.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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