March 2016

IZA DP No. 9811: Energy Boom and Gloom? Local Effects of Oil and Natural Gas Drilling on Subjective Well-Being

published in: Growth and Change, 2017, 48 (4), 590-610

The United States experienced a considerable increase in oil and natural gas extraction in recent years due to technological advancements including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Increased energy development likely creates both benefits and costs, but the net effects for local residents are not well understood. This paper examines effects of conventional and horizontal oil and natural gas drilling in Texas on subjective assessments of life-satisfaction and bad mental health days for nearby residents. Horizontal drilling has statistically significant deleterious effects on well-being, but the effects are driven by the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metropolitan area, an area with both very high levels of horizontal drilling and a large urban population.