Patchwork Policies, Spillovers, and the Search for Oil and Gas Academic Article uri icon


  • The United States has a complex patchwork of mineral ownership, where rights to oil and gas may be owned by the federal government, state governments, or private agents. I show why the policies imposed by one owner have theoretically ambiguous spillover effects on the drilling and production outcomes of neighboring plots of land. Exploiting a natural experiment in Wyoming with exogenous ownership assignment, I find significant spillovers: federal land close to state land has a lower probability of drilling than federal land far from state land. (JEL H82, L71, P14,Q35, Q38)

published proceedings

  • American Economic Journal: Economic Policy

author list (cited authors)

  • Lewis, E

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Lewis, Eric

publication date

  • February 2019