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

46 Pages Posted: 18 May 2017 Last revised: 22 May 2017

See all articles by Leah Platt Boustan

Leah Platt Boustan

Princeton University

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Paul W. Rhode

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Maria Lucia Yanguas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Date Written: May 2017

Abstract

More than 100 natural disasters strike the United States every year, causing extensive property destruction and loss of life. We construct an 80 year panel data set that includes the universe of natural disasters in the United States from 1930 to 2010 and study how these shocks affected migration rates, home prices, and poverty rates at the county level. Severe disasters increased out-migration rates by 1.5 percentage points and lowered housing prices/rents by 2.5–5.0 percent, but milder disasters had little effect on economic outcomes.

Suggested Citation

Boustan, Leah Platt and Kahn, Matthew E. and Rhode, Paul W. and Yanguas, Maria Lucia, The Effect of Natural Disasters on Economic Activity in Us Counties: A Century of Data (May 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23410. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2968248

Leah Platt Boustan (Contact Author)

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Paul W. Rhode

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor ( email )

500 S. State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Maria Lucia Yanguas

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) ( email )

405 Hilgard Avenue
Box 951361
Los Angeles, CA 90095
United States

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