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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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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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  1. Simmons, Kevin M., 2011. "Economic and Societal Impacts of Tornadoes," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9781878220998, March.
  2. Timothy J. Bartik, 1991. "Who Benefits from State and Local Economic Development Policies?," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number wbsle.
  3. Tatyana Deryugina, 2011. "The Dynamic Effects of Hurricanes in the US: The Role of Non-Disaster Transfer Payments," Working Papers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research 1107, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  4. Gary D. Libecap & Richard H. Steckel, 2011. "The Economics of Climate Change: Adaptations Past and Present," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number libe10-1, October.
  5. Kousky, Carolyn & Luttmer, Erzo F. P. & Zeckhauser, Richard, 2006. "Private Investment and Government Protection," Working Paper Series rwp06-017, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
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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
  8. The Optimal Durability of Location Fixed Capital and the Turtle Economy
    by Matthew Kahn in Environmental and Urban Economics on 2014-05-19 16:19:00
Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
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Cited by:
  1. Richard Hornbeck & Suresh Naidu, 2012. "When the Levee Breaks: Black Migration and Economic Development in the American South," NBER Working Papers 18296, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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. Yoshito Takasaki, 2013. "Do natural disasters beget fraud victimization?: Unrealized coping through labor migration among the poor," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba 2013-002, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
  5. 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.
  6. Michael Greenstone & B. Kelsey Jack, 2013. "Envirodevonomics: A Research Agenda for a Young Field," NBER Working Papers 19426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Mitrut, Andreea & Wolff, François-Charles, 2014. "Remittances after natural disasters: Evidence from the 2004 Indian tsunami," Working Papers in Economics 604, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  8. Melissa Dell & Benjamin F. Jones & Benjamin A. Olken, 2013. "What Do We Learn from the Weather? The New Climate-Economy Literature," NBER Working Papers 19578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Noy, Ilan & Karim, Azreen, 2013. "Poverty, inequality and natural disasters – A survey," Working Paper Series, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance 2974, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.

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