Headshot for Professor Anja Benshaul-Tolonen


On July 30, 2021, Anja Benshaul-Tolonen, assistant professor of economics, published new research in the Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, alongside Barnard alumna Sarah Baum ’17. Their article, titled “Extractive Industries and Gender Equality,” explores empirical literature on extractive industries, which are businesses that take raw materials from the earth, and their gender-specific effects. Correlational analysis of cross-country data indicates that resource-dependent countries with powerful extractive industries generally have greater gender inequality, lower education levels for men and women, lower absolute female welfare, and more conservative attitudes toward women. 

The literature review concludes that extractive industries have highly gender-specific effects with economic impacts. The research points out that jobs in extractive industries create gender segregation in labor markets, which can further affect marriage markets, fertility, and violence. The authors also add that certain health issues, such as sexual health, reproductive health, and infant health, are determined by environmental factors, like pollution, but the negative effects of these factors can be offset by economic opportunities. They conclude that program evaluation research is needed in order to determine how to strengthen the beneficial effects of extractive industries — without creating undesirable effects on gender equality.