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Disaster in Paradise: A Preliminary Investigation of the Socio-Economic Aftermaths of Two Coastal Disasters in Hawaii


  • John Lynham

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

  • Ilan Noy

    () (School of Economics and Finance, Wellington, New Zealand)


In spite of a long history of coastal disasters worldwide and detailed studies of their short-term impacts, there is still little information about the longer-term economic and socio-economic consequences of these events. The long-term impacts of natural disasters are “hidden” since distinguishing them from othe post disaster developments is difficult. A decade after an event, how many of the observed changes in an economy can confidently be attributed to the event itself? Because the long-term effects of coastal disasters have rarely been studied, they remain unaccounted for in any pre- and post-disaster planning and policy decisions. We focus on the 1960 tsunami and the 1992 Hurricane Iniki on Hawaii and Kauai islands, respectively. The other Hawaiian Islands, which were not hit by the tsunami or hurricane, provide an ideal control group that potentially enables us to distinguish between long-term impacts and other post-disaster developments. We describe the regional macro---economy for the Hilo region in Hawaii and the immediate aftermath of the tsunami. We use Hurricane Iniki to demonstrate how to disentangle long-term consequences on Kauai and speculate what were the long-term impacts of 1960 Hilo tsunami.

Suggested Citation

  • John Lynham & Ilan Noy, 2012. "Disaster in Paradise: A Preliminary Investigation of the Socio-Economic Aftermaths of Two Coastal Disasters in Hawaii," Working Papers 201217, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201217

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    Cited by:

    1. Craig R. Parsons, 2016. "Disasters and trade: did Hurricane Katrina affect US imports?," International Economics and Economic Policy, Springer, vol. 13(2), pages 177-194, April.

    More about this item


    coastal disasters; disaster impact; Hilo; tsunami; hurricane; Hawaii;

    JEL classification:

    • 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

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