The politics of corporate social responsibility in the Peruvian mining sector
The expansion of the mining frontier to Global South countries has increased the tensions between mining companies and nearby communities which claim a fairer distribution of benefits from economic activity or even reject extractive activities in their territory. In response to company-community conflict, firms have sought to maintain political support and avoid costly disruptions to production in the areas where they operate through the distribution of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) benefits. This dissertation explores the distributive consequences of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) on local-level politics. I argue that mining company practices of CSR have important political consequences for how local communities engage in collective action and the way they relate to the state. I make two broad claims in this dissertation. First, mining companies' CSR practices can shape the incentives of local populations to mobilize through the strategic distribution of benefits. On a larger scale, CSR can reduce the incidence of company-community conflict by channeling some of the communities’ demands for services or compensation for environmental externalities. However, the distribution of CSR at the enclave level can also generate tensions among the communities that have been excluded from benefits. Second, I argue that mining companies can weaken the local state and ultimately perpetuate the patterns of under-provision by reducing the demand for social services. This is particularly an issue in scenarios where mining companies are major non-state providers of public and private goods. I find that mining companies ‘provision of public goods increases the perception of local government underperformance. This leads citizens to shift their demands for public services away from the state to the mining company, thus reducing the pressure on local government to provide or improve public services. I provide empirical support to my claims using a mixed method strategy combining novel panel data on CSR spending in Peru, with survey and original experimental data on communities living near the Las Bambas mine. In all, my dissertation this dissertation is an attempt to systematically study CSR practices and how they affect political outcomes in local communities living in the vicinity of extractive projects.