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The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in US Counties: A Century of Data

Listed author(s):
  • Leah Platt Boustan
  • Matthew E. Kahn
  • Paul W. Rhode
  • Maria Lucia Yanguas

Major natural disasters such as Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy cause numerous fatalities, and destroy property and infrastructure. In any year, the U.S experiences dozens of smaller natural disasters as well. We construct a 90 year panel data set that includes the universe of natural disasters in the United States from 1920 to 2010. By exploiting spatial and temporal variation, we study how these shocks affected migration rates, home prices and local poverty rates. The most severe disasters increase out migration rates and lower housing prices, especially in areas at particular risk of disaster activity, but milder disasters have little effect.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 23410.

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Date of creation: May 2017
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23410
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