The (Uneven) Spatial Distribution of the Bakken Oil Boom

Johanna Richter, Alliana Salanguit and Alexander James


Resulting from a booming shale-energy sector, from 2007 to 2014, income per capita in North Dakota increased 40%. Does this reflect the experience of a few oil-rich counties, or were the gains more evenly distributed across the region? We find the shale boom generated significant economic gains for counties above and near the Bakken Shale Formation, but not for those farther away. We also document significant state-border effects, which are not easily explained. Conditional on distance to the Bakken region, the shale boom generated limited outward migration from South Dakota, and as a result, the economic gains that accrued there were muted. (Q32, Q33)

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