ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Gold Mining Institutions in Nilgiri–Wayanad

A Historical–Institutional Perspective

Amalendu Jyotishi ( teaches at the Department of Management, Amrita Vishwa Vidaypeetham, Bengaluru.
Sashi Sivramkrishna ( teaches economics at the Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bengaluru. Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt ( is with the Resource Environment and Development Program, Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Acton, Australia.

An exploration of the complex development of gold mining in the Nilgiri–Wayanad region of southern India demonstrates how entwined histories disrupt simple taxonomic structures of “formality” and “informality.” Drawing on the long history of gold mining in the region that dates back to the 1830s, this paper presents a counter-example to the conventional view that institutions develop in a trajectory of informality to formality. To do this, the paper identifies three distinct phases of development in the gold mining industry of this region that mark and encompass shifts in governance of the area, global economic trends, commercial investment, property rights, government funding, influx of repatriate communities, and other social issues in the local economy. The analysis concludes that institutions in the region have evolved from formal–artisanal to formal–industrial, and then to informal–small scale.

The authors acknowledge the insightful comments of the anonymous reviewer that helped bring the paper to its current shape. This study was conducted with fi nancial and technical support from the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics. SANDEE provided academic support from experts through regular meetings and interactions. The authors convey special thanks to Jean Marie Baland for reading through the drafts and helping out at different stages of this work. It also benefi ted from the fi nancial support from the Australian Research Council through the Australian National University, Canberra from its ARC LP “Going for Gold.” The fi eldwork support, especially from Manswini Karthik and the respondents, is duly acknowledged.

Updated On : 14th Jul, 2017


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