Rural light pollution from shale gas development and associated sleep and subjective well-being

Andrew Boslett, Elaine Hill, Lala Ma, Lujia Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The shale oil and gas boom has had large economic, environmental, and social impacts on rural communities in the United States. This study provides novel estimates of the impacts of shale oil and gas development on light pollution in rural areas of the United States. Using nationwide, time-calibrated DMSP-OLS database from 2000 to 2012, we find robust evidence that the shale oil and gas boom significantly increased light pollution in rural areas. We then assess associations between horizontal drilling and subjective self-rated health using nationwide data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) from 2000 to 2012. Our findings suggest that insufficient sleep and poor health (physical or mental) are associated with increased drilling in rural areas. These results provide support for drilling-related light pollution as an additional environmental pathway of concern for public health beyond the mechanisms of air or water pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101220
JournalResource and Energy Economics
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Enverus, Inc. for providing academic access to their proprietary oil and gas databases. We would like to acknowledge excellent research assistance by Qiuyuan Qin and Tarsha Vasu. This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH): DP5OD021338 (PI: Elaine Hill).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Light pollution
  • Natural resources
  • Shale development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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