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Moving to Higher Ground: Migration Response to Natural Disasters in the Early Twentieth Century

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Author Info

  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Matthew E. Kahn
  • Paul W. Rhode

Abstract

Areas differ in their propensity to experience natural disasters. Exposure to disaster risks can be reduced either through migration (i.e., self-protection) or through public infrastructure investment (e.g., building seawalls). Using migration data from the 1920s and 1930s, this paper studies how the population responded to disaster shocks in an era of minimal public investment. We find that, on net, young men move away from areas hit by tornados but are attracted to areas experiencing floods. Early efforts to protect against future flooding, especially during the New Deal era of the late 1930s, may have counteracted an individual migration response.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.102.3.238
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 102 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 238-44

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:3:p:238-44

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Citations

Blog mentions

As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
  1. Rebuilding New Jersey and Coastal Moral Hazard
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-10-31 05:39:00
  2. Some Puzzles About Coastal Development
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-11-04 15:02:00
  3. Who Can Take a Punch?
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2012-12-22 19:24:00
  4. Al Gore Changes His Mind on the Beneficial Role of Climate Change Adaptation
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2013-02-10 16:30:00
  5. Al Gore’s Nuanced Support for Climate Change Adaptation Efforts
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2013-02-10 16:36:53
  6. Not Moving to Higher Ground
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2013-04-27 15:46:34
  7. Adapting to Flood Risk in Iowa: Federal Rebuilding Funds and Moral Hazard
    by Matthew E. Kahn in The Reality-Based Community on 2013-07-12 18:41:07
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Cited by:
  1. Noy, Ilan & Karim, Azreen, 2013. "Poverty, inequality and natural disasters – A survey," Working Paper Series 2974, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Safarzyńska, Karolina & Brouwer, Roy & Hofkes, Marjan, 2013. "Evolutionary modelling of the macro-economic impacts of catastrophic flood events," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(C), pages 108-118.
  3. Trond G. Husby & Henri L.F. de Groot & Marjan W. Hofkes & Martijn I. Dröes, 2013. "Do Floods have Permanent Effects? Evidence from the Netherlands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 13-159/VIII, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. Trond Husby & Henri L.F. de Groot & Marjan W. Hofkes & Martijn I. Dröes, 2013. "The Great North Sea Flood of 1953, The Deltaworks and the spatial distribution of people," ERSA conference papers ersa13p909, European Regional Science Association.

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