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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adapting economic games for organisation of artisanal and small scale gold miners in Tanzania Scoble, Jemma


This thesis analyses cooperation and trust as key components of organization in artisanal and small-scale mining. Significant economic, health and social issues are associated with artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) activities. Work conducted as part of the GEF/UNDP/UNIDO Global Mercury Project has illuminated opportunities to improve the situation for artisanal and small-scale miners and their communities through enhanced organizational structures. Improvements in organization can present opportunities for groups of miners to access technology and finance, conduct work that is safe and in accordance with best practices, increase productivity and earnings, and reduce the numerous social impacts associated with involvement in the sub-sector. Upon identification of barriers to improved organisation in ASM, research by the GMP concluded that distrust and uncooperativeness among miners were two of the most significant concerns to address prior to introducing organizational alternatives. It was determined that in order to promote pro-social and trusting behaviours within ASM groups, the current nature of these components should be defined. It was believed that the adaptation of economic games to ASM contexts could contribute to an understanding of the nature of trust and cooperation. In addition, this could also provide evidence to either support reasons for distrust between groups of miners or highlight a proclivity towards trust and cooperation. It was also believed that economic games could be applied as an educational tool in the promotion of cooperative behaviours by illustrating in a tangible, direct and interactive manner the benefits of cooperation and trust over the pursuit of self interest. With current lack of organization being attributed in part to anti-social and individualistic behaviour among miners, this work demonstrates how economic games can serve as analogies of situations in ASM whereby benefits to both individuals and groups can be derived through cooperation. The following work is an examination of these applications of economic games in ASM in Tanzania.

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