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Climate Risk and Beliefs: Evidence from New York Floodplains

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Abstract

Applying a difference-in-differences framework to a census of residential property transactions in New York City 2003-2017, we estimate the price effects of three flood risk signals: 1) the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which increased premiums; 2) Hurricane Sandy; and 3) new floodplain maps reflecting three decades of climate change. Estimates are negative for all three signals and some are large: properties included in the new floodplain after escaping flooding by Sandy experienced 18 percent price reductions. We investigate possible mechanisms, including selection of properties into the market and residential sorting. Finding no evidence for these, we develop a parsimonious theoretical model to study changes in flood beliefs. The model allows decomposition of our reduced-form estimates into the effects of insurance premium changes and belief updating. Results suggest that the new maps induced substantially larger belief changes than insurance reform.

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  • Matthew Gibson & Jamie T. Mullins & Alison Hill, 2019. "Climate Risk and Beliefs: Evidence from New York Floodplains," Department of Economics Working Papers 2019-02, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  • Handle: RePEc:wil:wileco:2019-02
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q58 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environmental Economics: Government Policy
    • R30 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - General
    • G22 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - Insurance; Insurance Companies; Actuarial Studies

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