IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Labour market dynamics following a regional disaster


  • Richard Fabling
  • Arthur Grimes


  • Levi Timar


The 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes caused major upheaval to the people of the region. The second major quake killed 185 people, forced many from their homes, and closed Christchurch's central business district. This paper examines the consequential effect on jobs and accumulated earnings for workers in Canterbury. In addition, we examine concurrent decisions about employment location, including job-to-job transitions and regional migration. While Canterbury workers' employment outcomes were adversely affected in the short-run, those workers were more likely to have jobs three years later (relative to a matched control group), and to have higher accumulated earnings. At the same time, they were less likely to be at the same employer, and more likely to have migrated to jobs in other New Zealand regions. Impacts vary substantially by worker characteristics and by the naturally-induced geographic variation in the severity of the shock. We show that the Earthquake Support Subsidy appears to have influenced the extent of outward migration decisions, at least for a subset of workers, though not the long-term retention of the pre-quake job under which the subsidy was gained. We interpret these findings as evidence that the subsidy - by delaying job displacement - achieved its goal of giving employees in badly affected firms more time to assess their options.

Suggested Citation

  • Richard Fabling & Arthur Grimes & Levi Timar, 2016. "Labour market dynamics following a regional disaster," ERSA conference papers ersa16p50, European Regional Science Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa16p50

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Maribel Jiménez Martínez & Mónica Jiménez Martínez & Rocío Romero-Jarén, 2020. "How resilient is the labour market against natural disaster? Evaluating the effects from the 2010 earthquake in Chile," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 104(2), pages 1481-1533, November.
    2. Sally Owen & Ilan Noy & Jacob Pástor-Paz & David Fleming, 2019. "EQC and extreme weather events (part 2): Measuring the impact of insurance on New Zealand landslip, storm and flood recovery using nightlights," Working Papers 19_19, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.

    More about this item


    Earthquake; regional disaster; labour market dynamics; Christchurch;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wiw:wiwrsa:ersa16p50. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Gunther Maier). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.