The Region

Essay Question - North Dakota Oil Boom

Published October 3, 2013  | September 2013 issue

How should North Dakota handle its oil boom?

This spring the Minneapolis Fed held its 25th Annual Student Essay Contest, which is open to all high school students in the Ninth Federal Reserve District. The contest drew 291 essays from schools throughout the district. The winning essay is published here. Other top essays can be found at the Student Resources section of the Community & Education tab.

Thirty finalists each received $100. The third-place winner received an additional $200, and the second-place winner an additional $300. The first-place winner, William Thomas of Roseville Area High School in Roseville, Minn., received an additional $400 and a paid summer internship at the Minneapolis Fed.

Over the past few years, oil drilling and extraction have turned North Dakota into the nation’s second-largest oil-producing state, and the one with the lowest unemployment. While this boom has been good for many, it has also raised a number of economic questions about the consequences of rapid growth and about the long-run health of the state’s economy. Entrants in this year’s essay contest were asked to use sound economic logic to evaluate economic issues surrounding the oil boom.