Which institutional arrangements help us use natural resources most effectively? In this seminar, Professor Dominic Parker of the University of Wisconsin, Madison presents research from a natural experiment in land ownership and oil production on the Ft. Berthold Indian reservation in North Dakota.
About the Talk:
Land ownership in the United States extends below ground, whereas most governments retain subsurface ownership. Which system generates greater resource use? Professor Dominic Parker and his colleagues exploit a natural experiment to show the answer depends on land fragmentation. Historical policies created a mosaic of government, private, and co-owned parcels on the Ft. Berthold Indian reservation above the Bakken shale. Studying the 2005-2015 fracking boom, the authors find that private ownership generated more oil production than government ownership unless parcels were smaller than 5 acres (private) or 63 acres (co-owned). Scattered government holdings within private areas further reduced production. The authors estimate the implied gains from consolidation.
About the Speaker:
Dominic Parker is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics at UW-Madison. His research fields include environmental and resource economics, law and economics, development, and institutional economics. Specifically, he is interested in the role that property rights and governance play in affecting the extent to which societies and individuals benefit from their natural resource endowments. Topics include conflict minerals, oil boomtowns, private land conservation, commercial fishery reform, and the economies of indigenous communities.