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Flooded Cities

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  • Adriana Kocornik-Mina
  • Thomas K. J. McDermott
  • Guy Michaels
  • Ferdinand Rauch

Abstract

Does economic activity move away from areas that are at high risk of recurring shocks? We examine this question in the context of floods, which displaced more than 650 million people worldwide in the last 35 years. We study large urban floods using spatially detailed inundation maps and night lights data spanning the globe's cities. We find that low-elevation urban areas are flooded more frequently, and yet they concentrate more economic activity per square kilometer. When cities are flooded, low-elevation areas recover as rapidly as those higher up. With the exception of recently populated urban areas, we find little permanent movement of economic activity in response to floods.

Suggested Citation

  • Adriana Kocornik-Mina & Thomas K. J. McDermott & Guy Michaels & Ferdinand Rauch, 2020. "Flooded Cities," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 12(2), pages 35-66, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:12:y:2020:i:2:p:35-66
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.20170066
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    3. McDermott, T.K.J. & Surminski, S., 2018. "Normative interpretations of climate risk assessment and how it affects local decision making – a study at the city scale in Cork, Ireland," Working Papers 309607, National University of Ireland, Galway, Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit.
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    5. Jing Xiao & Ron Boschma & Martin Andersson, 2018. "Resilience in the European Union: the effect of the 2008 crisis on the ability of regions in Europe to develop new industrial specializations," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 27(1), pages 15-47.
    6. Johar, Meliyanni & Johnston, David W. & Shields, Michael A. & Siminski, Peter & Stavrunova, Olena, 2020. "The Economic Impacts of Direct Natural Disaster Exposure," IZA Discussion Papers 13616, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Johanna Choumert-Nkolo & Anaïs Lamour & Pascale Phélinas, 2020. "The economics of volcanoes," Working Papers hal-02556468, HAL.
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    9. Melissa Chow & Jordan Stanley, 2020. "A Shore Thing: Post-Hurricane Outcomes for Businesses in Coastal Areas," Working Papers 20-27, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    10. John Gibson & Susan Olivia & Geua Boe-Gibson, 2019. "A Test of DMPS and VIIRS Night Lights Data for Estimating GDP and Spatial Inequality for Rural and Urban Areas," Working Papers in Economics 19/11, University of Waikato.
    11. Chalal, Moulay Larbi & Benachir, Medjdoub & White, Michael & Shrahily, Raid, 2016. "Energy planning and forecasting approaches for supporting physical improvement strategies in the building sector: A review," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 761-776.
    12. Ortega, Francesc & Taṣpınar, Süleyman, 2018. "Rising sea levels and sinking property values: Hurricane Sandy and New York’s housing market," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 106(C), pages 81-100.
    13. Gibson, John & Olivia, Susan & Boe-Gibson, Geua & Li, Chao, 2021. "Which night lights data should we use in economics, and where?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).
    14. Jedwab,Remi Camille & Pereira,Daniel & Roberts,Mark, 2019. "Cities of Workers, Children, or Seniors? Age Structure and Economic Growth in a Global Cross-Section of Cities," Policy Research Working Paper Series 9040, The World Bank.
    15. John Gibson & Susan Olivia & Geua Boe‐Gibson, 2020. "Night Lights In Economics: Sources And Uses," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 34(5), pages 955-980, December.
    16. Areendam Chanda & Dachao Ruan, 2017. "Early Urbanization and the Persistence of Regional Disparities within Countries," Departmental Working Papers 2017-01, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
    17. Chen, Yibo & Tan, Hongwei, 2017. "Short-term prediction of electric demand in building sector via hybrid support vector regression," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 204(C), pages 1363-1374.
    18. Yizhou Wu & Peilei Fan & Bo Li & Zutao Ouyang & Yong Liu & Heyuan You, 2017. "The Effectiveness of Planning Control on Urban Growth: Evidence from Hangzhou, China," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(5), pages 1-24, May.
    19. Sally Owen & Ilan Noy & Jacob Pástor-Paz & David Fleming, 2019. "EQC and extreme weather events (part 2): Measuring the impact of insurance on New Zealand landslip, storm and flood recovery using nightlights," Working Papers 19_19, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    20. Thomas Steinwachs, 2019. "Eine Frage der Geographie: Räumliche Dimensionen von Handel, Migration und Wachstum," ifo Beiträge zur Wirtschaftsforschung, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 81, December.
    21. Indaco, Agustín & Ortega, Francesc & Taspinar, Süleyman, 2019. "Hurricanes, Flood Risk and the Economic Adaptation of Businesses," IZA Discussion Papers 12474, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    22. Indaco, Agustín, 2020. "From twitter to GDP: Estimating economic activity from social media," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 85(C).
    23. Castells-Quintana, David & del Pilar Lopez-Uribe, Maria & McDermott, Thomas K.J., 2018. "A review of adaptation to climate change through a development economics lens," Working Papers 309605, National University of Ireland, Galway, Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes
    • R58 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Regional Development Planning and Policy

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