Analyzing the Impact of Dodd Frank Mining Legislation on Sexual Violence in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Year: 2018 HiCN Working Paper No. 268

Proponents of ‘conflict mineral’ legislation, known as Dodd Frank Section 1502, describe sexual violence as a symptom of a conflict caused by access to and control over vast mineral wealth, particularly 3T mining (tungsten, tantalum, tin) in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Profits are said to fund continued conflict and staggering levels of sexual violence. Not only has DRC been described in popular media as ‘the worst place to be a woman’, but rape has been characterized as ‘endemic’ and a ‘weapon of war’, and DRC has often been called the ‘rape capital of the world’. Using a difference in difference model, this paper first tests the assumption that sexual violence was higher in areas targeted by the policy than similar mining-areas lesser affected or unaffected, then tests if and how a targeted sanction, which became a de facto boycott, achieved the predicted decrease in sexual violence. Our evidence first leads us to dispute the claim that the presence of a 3T mine within 20km necessitated a de facto boycott, given that only places within 20km of a 3T mine and within Maniema, South Kivu and North Kivu had significantly higher levels of sexual violence. Furthermore, while we find an overall decrease in sexual violence from 2007 to 2013/2014, it is not attributable to the de facto boycott. Maniema, South Kivu and North Kivu remain places with a greater likelihood of sexual violence than comparable, eastern provinces. The presence of a 3T or gold mine does not uniquely predict, sexual violence. We conclude that a targeted sanction, in this instance, was both an inappropriate and ineffective economic tool to achieve an improved social or health outcome, that is, a significant decrease in sexual violence.