According to a working paper from Dominic P. Parker of the University of Wisconsin and Bryan Vadheim of the London School of Economics, there's strong evidence to suggest that "conflict mineral" regulations in Section 1502 of Dodd-Frank directly led to an increase in looting in affected regions of the Congo. ...
n economics terms, Parker says, conflict mineral regulations converted many of the DRC's militia groups from "stationary" bandits, which extract taxes from people but otherwise do little harm, into what are known as "roving" bandits.
This, it turns out, is much worse for the people on the ground.
"The roving bandit doesn’t have a long-run stake in the economic productivity of a place," Parker says, "so he takes what he can get now with little regard for how his [ransacking and stealing] will affect future productivity."
Meanwhile, stationary bandits have every incentive not to hurt too many people.
Kindly go read the whole thing.
Update: Hans Bader also has a helpful summary analysis of the conflict minerals question.