Abstract for:The Resource Curse in West Virginia Coal Counties

West Virginia has historically suffered from the resource curse; despite their abundance in natural resources, the state has experienced slow economic growth, mainly due to heavy economic reliance on coal extraction. Despite the fact that WV is the second highest producer of coal in the U.S., the state ranks 49th in per capita income. By modelling the local economy of a coal county and a coal company, we gained insight into how the local economy is impacted by the dynamics of a coal industry. We ran counterfactuals to see how a number of policy interventions (i.e. salary raises, increased investment) might have helped to diversity the local economy in the midst of the declining coal industry. The most successful interventions increased outside investment in local capital, which suggests that growing the local capital in industries outside of coal would have made the community more economically resilient.