Abstract for: Unintended Consequences of the North Dakota Oil Boom: Stress on the Local Counties

After the discovery of the Parshall Oil Field in 2006, the current North Dakota oil boom started to unfold. The fast growing oil and gas industries have created thousands of new jobs and a billion dollar budget surplus for the state government. Meanwhile, the boom challenges the oil producing counties that are struggling to maintain high quality social services to a rapidly increasing population. Our paper describes the main aspects of the interactions between oil sector employment, secondary employment, domestic immigration, and the fiscal policies of Dunn County and the State government. We use the increased mileage of high impact roads in the County of Dunn as an example of pressures on the provision of infrastructure and it also serves as a proxy for the provision of social services in general. We stress the importance of thoughtful fiscal policy to mitigate the impact of the oil boom. Also, we stress the need for system dynamics work in the region. System dynamics can be used as a tool in planning and evaluating policies for the oil producing counties and we believe that the North Dakota oil boom model can serve as a starting point for further research on the topic.