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In the Eye of the Storm: Coping with Future Natural Disasters in Hawaii

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Author Info

  • Makena Coffman

    ()
    (Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Hawaii at Manoa
    University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization)

  • Ilan Noy

    ()
    (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

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Abstract

Hurricane Iniki, that hit the island of Kauai on September 11th, 1992, was the strongest hurricane that hit the Hawaiian Islands in recorded history, and the one that wrought the most damage, estimated at 7.4 billion (in 2008 US$). We provide an assessment of Hawaii’s vulnerability to disasters using a framework developed for small islands. In addition, we provide an analysis of the ex post impact of Iniki on the economy of Kauai. Using indicators such as visitor arrivals and agricultural production, we show that Kauai’s economy only returned to pre-Iniki levels 7-8 years after the storm. Today, it has yet to recover in terms of population growth. As an island state, Hawaii is particularly susceptible to the occurrence of disasters. Even more worrying, Hawaii’s dependence on tourism, narrow export base, high level of imports and relatively small agricultural sector make Hawaii much more likely to struggle to recover in the aftermath. By thoroughly learning from Kauai’s experience and the state’s vulnerabilities, we hope we can better prepare for likely future disaster events.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_09-4.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 200904.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 01 May 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:200904

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Related research

Keywords: natural disasters; hurricane; Iniki; Kauai; Hawaii; climate change; global warming;

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References

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  1. Ilan Noy & Aekkanush Nualsri, 2008. "Fiscal Storms: Public Spending and Revenues in the Aftermath of Natural Disasters," Working Papers 200809, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  2. Tobias N. Rasmussen, 2004. "Macroeconomic Implications of Natural Disasters in the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 04/224, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Ilan Noy, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Disasters," Working Papers 200707, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  4. Jacob Vigdor, 2008. "The Economic Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 135-54, Fall.
  5. P. K. Narayan, 2003. "Macroeconomic impact of natural disasters on a small island economy: evidence from a CGE model," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 10(11), pages 721-723.
  6. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Patricio Valenzuela & Eduardo Borensztein, 2007. "Debt Sustainability under Catastrophic Risk: The Case for Government Budget Insurance," Research Department Publications 4522, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  7. Anbarci, Nejat & Escaleras, Monica & Register, Charles A., 2005. "Earthquake fatalities: the interaction of nature and political economy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(9-10), pages 1907-1933, September.
  8. Ilan Noy & Aekkanush Nualsri, 2007. "What do Exogenous Shocks Tell Us about Growth Theories?," Working Papers 200728, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  9. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Eduardo Borensztein & Patricio Valenzuela, 2008. "Debt Sustainability Under Catastrophic Risk," IMF Working Papers 08/44, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Mark Skidmore & Hideki Toya, 2002. "Do Natural Disasters Promote Long-Run Growth?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 40(4), pages 664-687, October.
  11. Crespo Cuaresma & Hlouskova & Obersteiner, 2008. "Natural Disasters As Creative Destruction? Evidence From Developing Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 46(2), pages 214-226, 04.
  12. Timothy Halliday, 2005. "Migration, Risk and Liquidity Constraints in El Salvador," Working Papers 200511, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics, revised 28 Mar 2006.
  13. Heger, Martin & Julca, Alex & Paddison, Oliver, 2008. "Analysing the Impact of Natural Hazards in Small Economies: The Caribbean Case," Working Paper Series RP2008/25, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
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