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The Katrina Effect: Was There a Bright Side to the Evacuation of Greater New Orleans?

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  • Jacob L. Vigdor

Abstract

In the presence of moving costs, individuals may remain in a region even when they expect to attain a higher standard of living elsewhere. When a natural disaster or other exogenous shock forces individuals to move, the net impact on living standards could be positive or negative. This paper uses longitudinal data from Current Population Surveys conducted between 2004 and 2006 to estimate the net impact of Hurricane Katrina-related evacuation on various indicators of well-being. While evacuees who have returned to the affected region show evidence of returning to normalcy in terms of labor supply and earnings, those who persisted in other locations exhibit large and persistent gaps, even relative to the poor outcomes of New Orleans-area residents prior to the storm. Evacuee outcomes show few if any relationships with host community characteristics, including unemployment and growth rates. The impact of evacuation on total income was blunted to some extent by government transfer payments and by self-employment activities. Overall, there is little evidence to support the notion that poor underemployed residents of the New Orleans area were disadvantaged by their location in a relatively depressed region.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob L. Vigdor, 2007. "The Katrina Effect: Was There a Bright Side to the Evacuation of Greater New Orleans?," NBER Working Papers 13022, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13022
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    1. Giorgio Di Pietro & Toni Mora, 2015. "The Effect of the L'Aquila Earthquake on Labour Market Outcomes," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 33(2), pages 239-255, April.
    2. Atila Abdulkadiroğlu & Joshua D. Angrist & Peter D. Hull & Parag A. Pathak, 2016. "Charters without Lotteries: Testing Takeovers in New Orleans and Boston," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(7), pages 1878-1920, July.
    3. Sastry, Narayan & Gregory, Jesse, 2013. "The effect of Hurricane Katrina on the prevalence of health impairments and disability among adults in New Orleans: Differences by age, race, and sex," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 121-129.
    4. Thomas K. Bauer & Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2011. "The Economic Integration of Forced Migrants – Evidence for Post-War Germany," Ruhr Economic Papers 0267, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    5. Zachary Bleemer & Wilbert Van der Klaauw, 2017. "Disaster (over-)insurance: the long-term financial and socioeconomic consequences of Hurricane Katrina," Staff Reports 807, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    6. Thomas K. Bauer & Sebastian Braun & Michael Kvasnicka, 2013. "The Economic Integration of Forced Migrants: Evidence for Post‐War Germany," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 123, pages 998-1024, September.
    7. Kevin Luo & Tomoko Kinugasa, 2018. "Do natural disasters influence long-term saving?: Assessing the impact of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake on household saving rates using synthetic control," Discussion Papers 1804, Graduate School of Economics, Kobe University.
    8. Jeffrey A. Groen & Mark J. Kutzbach & Anne E. Polivka, 2020. "Storms and Jobs: The Effect of Hurricanes on Individuals’ Employment and Earnings over the Long Term," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 38(3), pages 653-685.
    9. Vicki Marion Bier, 2017. "Understanding and Mitigating the Impacts of Massive Relocations Due to Disasters," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 1(2), pages 179-202, July.
    10. M. Rose Olfert & Mark D. Partridge, 2010. "Best Practices in Twenty‐First‐Century Rural Development and Policy," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 147-164, June.
    11. Michael Berlemann & Max Steinhardt & Jascha Tutt, 2015. "Do Natural Disasters Stimulate Individual Saving? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in a Highly Developed Country," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 763, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    12. Tatyana Deryugina & Laura Kawano & Steven Levitt, 2018. "The Economic Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Its Victims: Evidence from Individual Tax Returns," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 202-233, April.
    13. Jacob Vigdor, 2008. "The Economic Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 135-154, Fall.
    14. Jeffrey A. Groen† & Mark J. Kutzbach & Anne E. Polivka‡, 2015. "Storms and Jobs: The Effect of Hurricanes on Individuals’ Employment and Earnings over the Long Term," Working Papers 15-21r, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    15. repec:zbw:rwirep:0267 is not listed on IDEAS
    16. Giorgio Di Pietro & Toni Mora, 2015. "The effect of the L’Aquila earthquake on labour market outcomes," Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 33(2), pages 239-255, April.
    17. Bruce Sacerdote, 2008. "When The Saints Come Marching In: Effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Student Evacuees," NBER Working Papers 14385, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Jeffrey A. Groen & Anne E. Polivka, 2008. "The Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Labor Market Outcomes of Evacuees," Working Papers 415, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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