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Household Finance after a Natural Disaster: The Case of Hurricane Katrina

Author

Listed:
  • Justin Gallagher
  • Daniel Hartley

Abstract

Little is known about how affected residents are able to cope with the financial shock of a natural disaster. This paper investigates the impact of flooding on household finance. Spikes in credit card borrowing and overall delinquency rates for the most flooded residents are modest in size and short-lived. Greater flooding results in larger reductions in total debt. Lower debt levels are driven by homeowners using flood insurance to repay their mortgages rather than to rebuild. Mortgage reductions are larger in areas where reconstruction costs exceeded pre-Katrina home values and where mortgages were likely to be originated by nonlocal lenders.

Suggested Citation

  • Justin Gallagher & Daniel Hartley, 2017. "Household Finance after a Natural Disaster: The Case of Hurricane Katrina," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 199-228, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:9:y:2017:i:3:p:199-228
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.20140273
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • G21 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Banks; Other Depository Institutions; Micro Finance Institutions; Mortgages
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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