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The effects of a natural gas boom on employment and income in Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming

Jeremy Weber ()

Energy Economics, 2012, vol. 34, issue 5, 1580-1588

Abstract: Improvements in technology have made it profitable to tap unconventional gas reservoirs in relatively impermeable shale and sandstone deposits, which are spread throughout the U.S., mostly in rural areas. Proponents of gas drilling point to the activity's local economic benefits yet no empirical studies have systematically documented the magnitude or distribution of economic gains. I estimate these gains for counties in Colorado, Texas, and Wyoming, three states where natural gas production expanded substantially since the late 1990s. I find that a large increase in the value of gas production caused modest increases in employment, wage and salary income, and median household income. The results suggest that each million dollars in gas production created 2.35 jobs in the county of production, which led to an annualized increase in employment that was 1.5% of the pre-boom level for the average gas boom county. Comparisons show that ex-ante estimates of the number of jobs created by developing the Fayetteville and Marcellus shale gas formations may have been too large.

Keywords: Shale gas; Resource extraction; Economic growth (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q32 Q33 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2012
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Energy Economics is currently edited by R. S. J. Tol, Beng Ang, Lance Bachmeier, Perry Sadorsky, Ugur Soytas and J. P. Weyant

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