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Natural disasters and macroeconomic performance: The role of residential investment

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  • Strulik, Holger
  • Trimborn, Timo

Abstract

Recent empirical research has shown that income per capita in the aftermath of natural disasters is not necessarily lower than before the event. In many cases, income is not significantly affected and surprisingly, can even respond positively to natural disasters. Here, we propose a simple theory based on the neoclassical growth model that explains these observations. Specifically, we show that GDP is driven above its pre-shock level when natural disasters destroy predominantly residential housing (or other durable goods). Disasters destroying mainly productive capital, in contrast, are predicted to reduce GDP. Insignificant responses of GDP can be expected when disasters destroy about equally residential structures and productive capital. We also show that disasters, irrespective of whether their impact on GDP is positive, negative, or insignificant, entail considerable losses of aggregate welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Strulik, Holger & Trimborn, Timo, 2014. "Natural disasters and macroeconomic performance: The role of residential investment," University of Göttingen Working Papers in Economics 194 [rev.], University of Goettingen, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cegedp:194r
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    natural disasters; economic recovery; residential housing; economic growth;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • R31 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Real Estate Markets, Spatial Production Analysis, and Firm Location - - - Housing Supply and Markets

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