Abundant Coal May Have ‘Cursed' the Appalachian Economy

Washington Post - As Chico Harlan writes, the economy of the central Appalachian region has been tied to the highs and lows of the coal industry for decades. Read

Harlan's piece raises the question of whether West Virginia miners are better off moving away from the troubled local coal mining industry — and certainly some are trying. But is West Virginia's economy better off moving away from one of its most valuable natural resources? In economics, there's a fairly sizable body of research on the idea of a "resource curse" — that is, the theory that countries blessed with abundant natural resources are often cursed with higher poverty levels and lower growth. Experts disagree about the extent of the causal link between resource booms and poverty.

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