Growing firms in declining fields: Unanticipated impacts of oil development

Harvey Molotch, John Woolley, Teri Jori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a study of off-shore oil development in the Santa Barbara Channel, we found that many local oil-related firms adapted to declines in the oil industry by diversifying into other realms, thus forestalling their expected demise. We provide case instances of how such adaptation occurs. Firms’ success at self-transformation alters the type of environmental impacts caused by the oil industry’s coming to the region. This mitigates the boom-bust cycle often associated with extractive industries but sets in motion other long-term consequences. Environmental assessments of industrial projects are incomplete unless they consider how firms, once in place, themselves evolve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-156
Number of pages20
JournalSociety and Natural Resources
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1998


  • Adaptation
  • Corporations
  • Development
  • EIR
  • Extraction
  • Impacts
  • Oil
  • Socioeconomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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