A topography of dams in China : impacts to agriculture, labor, and migration Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/8623j085c

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  • Dams are often promoted as a tool to reduce poverty and spur economic development. Dam construction worldwide, and particularly in China, which has built nearly half the world's large dams since 1949, remains contentious due to the potential for negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts. Despite numerous case studies, there is little systematic empirical evidence about either the contribution of dams to human development or their negative impacts to humans and the environment. Identifying the impact of dams also presents a methodological challenge because dam placement is likely endogenous to socioeconomic outcomes. The topographic suitability of a landscape for dam construction provides a source of exogenous variation in dam siting, which, building on the work of previous scholars, I exploit to identify the effect of large dams on agriculture, population change, and labor allocation. My results suggest that dams have decreased grain production in the counties where they were built and have drawn labor into non-agricultural fields. Dams appear to impact population subgroups in predictable ways and create identifiable winners and losers.
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