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Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth


  • Brown, Jason P.
  • Weber, Jeremy G.
  • Wojan, Timothy R.


Expansion of emerging energy industries—unconventional natural gas extraction, wind power development, and corn-based ethanol production—in rural areas of the United States during the last decade has led, on average, to net gains in local employment. Unconventional natural gas (so-called because it uses unconventional extraction methods— hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling—to reach gas trapped in relatively impermeable shale and sandstone) had the biggest employment effect, largely reflecting the scale of the activity. Despite its relatively large employment effect, the effect of natural gas development is smaller than what prior simulation models projected. Estimates of employment impacts for wind turbines and ethanol plants, in contrast, are consistent with some earlier projections. This report synthesizes and builds on findings from recent studies led by U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service researchers investigating the local economic effects of these energy industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Brown, Jason P. & Weber, Jeremy G. & Wojan, Timothy R., 2013. "Emerging Energy Industries and Rural Growth," Economic Research Report 262215, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:262215
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.262215

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Shanna Ratner & Deborah Markley, 2014. "Rural wealth creation as a sustainable economic development strategy: introduction to the special issue," Community Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 45(5), pages 435-442, December.
    2. Munasib, Abdul & Rickman, Dan S., 2015. "Regional economic impacts of the shale gas and tight oil boom: A synthetic control analysis," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 1-17.
    3. Jason Brown & Timothy Fitzgerald & Jeremy G. Weber, 2015. "Capturing rents from natural resource abundance: private royalties from U.S. onshore oil and gas production," Research Working Paper RWP 15-4, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, revised 01 Jun 2015.
    4. Timothy W. Kelsey & Mark D. Partridge & Nancy E. White, 2016. "Unconventional Gas and Oil Development in the United States: Economic Experience and Policy Issues," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 38(2), pages 191-214.
    5. Zuo, Na & Schieffer, Jack & Buck, Steven, 2019. "The effect of the oil and gas boom on schooling decisions in the U.S," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 1-23.
    6. Timothy R. Wojan & Jason P. Brown & Dayton M. Lambert, 2014. "What to Do about the "Cult of Statistical Significance"? A Renewable Fuel Application using the Neyman-Pearson Protocol," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(4), pages 674-695.
    7. Brown, Jason P. & Fitzgerald, Timothy & Weber, Jeremy G., 2016. "Capturing rents from natural resource abundance: Private royalties from U.S. onshore oil & gas production," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 23-38.


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