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Working Paper

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This study documents environmental performance for firms that extract oil and gas using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) technologies. Environmental performance is measured using public regulatory data for unconventional oil and gas development in the State of Pennsylvania. Using the performance measure, I show considerable variation in environmental performance for companies in the study. Of particular interest is that ‘independent’ oil and gas companies – smaller companies that specialize in exploration and production – performed better on average than the ‘majors’ – the large, international oil companies. The data and methods presented in the study should prove useful to researchers and stakeholders who find the lack of transparency in regulatory systems and environmental reporting a stumbling block to furthering research on environmental performance for firms that employ hydraulic fracturing.

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