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Title: Hydropower, Social Capital, Community Impacts, and Self‐Rated Health in the Amazon*

Nations in the global South have developed hydropower projects at a rapid pace in recent decades, most notably Brazil and China. These projects have long‐documented impacts on social and ecological systems, yet the implications of hydropower for human well‐being and health are not fully understood. In this paper, we examine eight Brazilian Amazon communities in the Madeira river basin, near the Jirau and Santo Antônio dams (sample size: 536 households). We evaluate how impacts on community resources, social capital, and the experience of resettlement influence self‐rated health in these communities. Results suggest that the dams strained community resources and social capital, which were associated with reductions in self‐rated health. In particular, cognitive social capital (i.e., trust) is lower after the dams' construction. The effect of resettlement and compensation is more nuanced and qualified. This work suggests that hydropower projects have broad deleterious impacts on well‐being and health of human populations in hosting regions and that better directed efforts are required on the part of dam developers to reduce these negative outcomes.

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Award ID(s):
1639115 2020790
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Rural Sociology
Medium: X Size: p. 393-426
p. 393-426
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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