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The Economic Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

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  • Jacob Vigdor

Abstract

On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina swept into Louisiana and New Orleans, a city built largely on land reclaimed from swamp, witnessed massive failures in its levees. Much of the city and its surrounding suburbs were inundated; those residents of the city who had not heeded warnings to flee the approaching storm were evacuated in its wake. In less than a week, the city's population declined from over 400,000 to near zero. Census Bureau estimates indicate that almost two years after the storm, by July 1, 2007, nearly half of these evacuees had yet to return. Will the future New Orleans bear any resemblance to the city that existed prior to Katrina? Most government authorities, from city officials to federal spokespersons, insist that New Orleans must -- and should -- be fully rebuilt. Many environmental scientists question whether such a rebuilding would be sensible, given the city's precarious geological position and the contribution of past land reclamation to the city's current vulnerability. The more basic positive question of whether the city will come back, however, is fundamentally an economic one. After Hurricane Katrina, will the city of New Orleans continue to be a preferred location for more than 400,000 residents and their employers? Or will the disaster shift the city to a new equilibrium level of employment and population?

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 22 (2008)
Issue (Month): 4 (Fall)
Pages: 135-54

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:22:y:2008:i:4:p:135-54

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.22.4.135
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  1. Edward L. Glaeser & Joseph Gyourko, 2001. "Urban Decline and Durable Housing," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1931, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  2. Jeffrey A. Groen & Anne E. Polivka, 2008. "The Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Labor Market Outcomes of Evacuees," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 43-48, May.
  3. Jeffrey A. Groen & Anne E. Polivka, 2008. "The Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Labor Market Outcomes of Evacuees," Working Papers 415, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  4. Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "The Katrina Effect: Was There a Bright Side to the Evacuation of Greater New Orleans?," NBER Working Papers 13022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Lynham, J & Noy, I & Page, J, 2012. "The 1960 Tsunami in Hawaii: Long Term Consequences of a Coastal Disaster," Working Paper Series 2389, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  2. Makena Coffman & Ilan Noy, 2009. "A Hurricane’s Long-Term Economic Impact: the Case of Hawaii’s Iniki," Working Papers 200905, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  3. Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2009. "The Economics of Natural Disasters - A Survey," Working Papers 200919, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  4. Noy, Ilan, 2012. "Natural disasters and economic policy for the Pacific Rim," Working Paper Series 2088, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.
  5. Park JiYoung & Gordon Peter & Jun Eunha & Moore James E & Richardson Harry W., 2009. "Identifying the Regional Economic Impacts of 9/11," Peace Economics, Peace Science, and Public Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 15(2), pages 1-34, July.
  6. Makena Coffman & Ilan Noy, 2009. "In the Eye of the Storm: Coping with Future Natural Disasters in Hawaii," Working Papers 200904, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  7. 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.
  8. Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2010. "The Aftermath of Natural Disasters: Beyond Destruction," CESifo Forum, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(2), pages 25-35, 07.
  9. Anthony Murphy & Eric Strobl, 2010. "The impact of hurricanes on housing prices: evidence from U.S. coastal cities," Working Papers 1009, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
  10. Jeffrey A. Groen & Anne E. Polivka, 2009. "Going Home after Hurricane Katrina: Determinants of Return Migration and Changes in Affected Areas," Working Papers 428, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  11. Doyle, Lisa & Noy, Ilan, 2013. "The short-run nationwide Macroeconomic effects of the Canterbury earthquakes," Working Paper Series 2677, Victoria University of Wellington, School of Economics and Finance.

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