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Going Home: Evacuation-Migration Decisions of Hurricane Katrina Survivors

  • Craig E. Landry
  • Okmyung Bin
  • Paul Hindsley
  • John C. Whitehead
  • Kenneth Wilson

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, many evacuees from the Gulf region began the difficult process of deciding whether to rebuild or restart elsewhere. We examine pre-Katrina Gulf residents’ decision to return to the post-disaster Gulf region—which we call the “return migration” decision. We estimate two separate return migration models, first utilizing data from a mail survey of individuals in the affected region and then focusing on self-administered questionnaires of evacuees in Houston. Our results indicate that return migration can be affected by household income; age; education level; employment, marital and home ownership status; but the results depend upon the population under consideration. We find no impact of “connection to place” on the return migration decision. While the impact of income is relatively small, we find that the real wage differential between home and host region influences the likelihood of return. Larger implicit costs, in terms of foregone wages for returning, induce a lower likelihood of return. Exploiting this difference at the individual level, we are able to produce estimates of willingness to pay to return home. Average WTP to return home for a sample of relatively poor households is estimated at $1.94 per hour or $3,954 per year.

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File URL: http://econ.appstate.edu/RePEc/pdf/wp0703.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Appalachian State University in its series Working Papers with number 07-03.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:apl:wpaper:07-03
Contact details of provider: Postal: Thelma C. Raley Hall, Boone, North Carolina 28608
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Web page: http://www.business.appstate.edu/departments/economics/

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  1. Roback, Jennifer, 1982. "Wages, Rents, and the Quality of Life," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(6), pages 1257-78, December.
  2. Krinsky, Itzhak & Robb, A Leslie, 1986. "On Approximating the Statistical Properties of Elasticities," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(4), pages 715-19, November.
  3. Graves, Philip E., 1979. "A life-cycle empirical analysis of migration and climate, by race," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(2), pages 135-147, April.
  4. John C. Whitehead & Bob Edwards & Marieke Van Willigen & John R. Maiolo & Kenneth Wilson & Kevin T. Smith, 2000. "“Heading for Higher Ground: Factors Affecting Real and Hypothetical Hurricane Evacuation Behavior,”," Working Papers 0006, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  5. Graves, Philip E., 1980. "Migration and climate," MPRA Paper 19916, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Greenwood, Michael J, 1969. "An Analysis of the Determinants of Geographic Labor Mobility in the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(2), pages 189-94, May.
  7. Greenwood, Michael J, et al, 1991. "Migration, Regional Equilibrium, and the Estimation of Compensating Differentials," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1382-90, December.
  8. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
  9. Rosen, Sherwin, 1974. "Hedonic Prices and Implicit Markets: Product Differentiation in Pure Competition," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(1), pages 34-55, Jan.-Feb..
  10. Greenwood, Michael J. & Hunt, Gary L., 1989. "Jobs versus amenities in the analysis of metropolitan migration," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 1-16, January.
  11. John Whitehead, 2005. "Environmental Risk and Averting Behavior: Predictive Validity of Jointly Estimated Revealed and Stated Behavior Data," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 32(3), pages 301-316, November.
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