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Inter-Regional Coal Mine Competition in the US: Evidence from Rail Restriction


  • Kanishka Kacker

    () (Economics and Planning Unit, Indian Statistical Institute)

  • Ian Lange

    (Division of Economics and Business, Colorado School of Mines)


There has been much discussion recently in the U.S. press about the fate of coal mining and its employees, specifically in the Appalachian region. This analysis looks at how Appalachian coal mining responds to changes in coal production from the Western US, whose mines are generally on federal land. Specifically we look at how an unexpected reduction in the ability to move coal from Wyoming to Eastern power plants in 2005-06 impacted the rate of opening and closure of mines in Appalachia. The findings reveal that restrictions in coal from federal lands leads to a reduction in the rate of Appalachian coal mine closure but no impact on the rate of coal mine openings. The results imply inter-regional coal mine substitution possibilities and shed light on the tradeoffs inherent in policies to encourage production in one region.

Suggested Citation

  • Kanishka Kacker & Ian Lange, 2017. "Inter-Regional Coal Mine Competition in the US: Evidence from Rail Restriction," Working Papers 2017-11, Colorado School of Mines, Division of Economics and Business.
  • Handle: RePEc:mns:wpaper:wp201711

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kyle C. Meng, 2016. "Estimating Path Dependence in Energy Transitions," NBER Working Papers 22536, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. J. Scott Holladay & Jacob LaRiviere, 2015. "The Impact of Cheap Natural Gas on Marginal Emissions from Electricity Generation and Implications for Energy," Working Papers 2015-07, University of Tennessee, Department of Economics.
    3. Todd Gerarden & W. Spencer Reeder & James H. Stock, 2016. "Federal Coal Program Reform, the Clean Power Plan, and the Interaction of Upstream and Downstream Climate Policies," NBER Working Papers 22214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Holladay, J. Scott & LaRiviere, Jacob, 2017. "The impact of cheap natural gas on marginal emissions from electricity generation and implications for energy policy," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 205-227.
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    More about this item


    Coal switching; Railroads; Supply Shock;

    JEL classification:

    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • Q35 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation - - - Hydrocarbon Resources

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