Dr. Amalendu Jyotishi, Professor and Chairperson PhD Program, Amrita School of Business, Bengaluru Campus, presented a paper entitled, “Transitions in Institutions of Gold Mining in the Nilgiri-Wayanad Region of India Since the Early Nineteenth Century: a Property Rights Perspective”, on 11th March, 2016, at the Indian Institute of Science, Department of Management Studies.
The evolution of institutions and natural resource governance against the backdrop of economic efficiency, equity in distribution of resources, vectors of institutional change and social welfare has raised several issues in social sciences discourse. Such institutional studies in a micro context are useful, especially to identify the processes and factors that play a critical role in shaping institutions. The new institutional economics theory suggests that over a long period of time, formal rules and well-defined property rights shape the institutions. Most often, the changes are guided by internal factors and supported by an external agency like the state, which helps in reducing uncertainty, creating efficient market-based institutions, and/or minimizing transactions costs. At the core of these changes is the property rights structure.
This paper explores gold mining in the Nilgiri-Wayanad region of southern India through a chronicle of available records and historical documents going back almost two centuries, and identifies the factors that contributed to shape the institutions relating to gold mining in the region. This study shows how institutions have transited from formal to informal over a long period of time. We also find that external factors like corporate speculation and exploration of gold in the late nineteenth century due to monometallic standards, as well as settlement of Tamil repatriates from Sri Lanka in the 1970s, played a critical role in the transition of the property rights structure and institutions governing gold mining activities. This particular case does not support the conventional institutional economic theory. Our attempt in this paper is to understand and contextualize the current informal gold mining in its historicity.
About the Speaker:
Dr. Amalendu Jyotishi is Professor and Chairperson of PhD Program at Amrita School of Business (ASB),Bengaluru. He is PhD in Economics from the Institute for Social and Economic Change, Bangalore, where he worked on the ecological economic issues of swidden agricultural systems. Prior to joining ASB, he has worked in Ohio University-Christ College Academy and in Gujarat Institute of Development Research. His research work covers a wide range of issues relating to institutional economic aspects of indigenous community, water markets, forestry, inland fisheries and livelihood issues in varied ecosystems. In the recent past he has been working on the issues relating to iron smelting and deforestation, informal gold mining, and climate change vulnerability.
Dr. Jyotishi has published his research ideas in journals, books and edited volumes and working papers. Additionally, he has presented several papers in international and national level conferences and has been acting as reviewer for several acclaimed journals in the areas of economics, management and other social sciences. He is one of the core research members of ‘Asian Initiative on Legal Pluralism’ and was elected as the coordinator of the group in the years 2012-2015.
Dr. Jyotishi has collaborated in research projects supported by organizations like the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), World Bank, International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Oxfam (GB) Trust, Aga Khan Rural Support Program (India), South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE), Australian Research Council (ARC), Sir Ratan Tata Trust. He received the ‘VKRV Rao Memorial Best PhD Thesis Award’ from the Institute for Social and Economic Change. Presently at ASB, Bengaluru he is the Chairperson of the PhD Program and teaches in the area of Economics.