This paper examines the local economic impact of large increases in metal-mining product prices on poverty in Chile. Using household data from 1998 to 2013 and exploiting differences in municipalities’ exposure to price changes, we provide evidence of a reduction in poverty rates following the positive terms of trade shock of 2003. According to our estimations, the increase in mineral prices experienced between 2003 and 2009 reduced poverty by more than 2% points in municipalities relatively exposed to the commodity boom – with at least 7% of employment in the metal-mining sector – in comparison to municipalities with no exposure to the boom. In addition, we explore some of the mechanisms explaining the reduction in poverty. We find significant effect of higher products prices on wages and employment, especially for unskilled workers and for workers employed in metal-mining industries.
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We would like to thank Claudio Bravo-Ortega, Paola Bordón, Dante Contreras, Rodrigo Fuentes, Joao Paulo Pessoa, Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, and Rodrigo Wagner, as well as seminar participants at the 2016 TIGN Conference, 2016 Econometric Society European Meeting, SECHI Annual Conference, and University of Chile for valuable comments and suggestions. Alvaro Garcia gratefully acknowledge research support from CONICYT-Chile through project Fondecyt Iniciación en Investigación 11150432.
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