How the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Shaped Economic Activity in the American West

20 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2019

See all articles by Philipp Ager

Philipp Ager

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Katherine Eriksson

University of California, Davis

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; University of Copenhagen

Lars Lønstrup

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 2019

Abstract

This paper examines the long-run effects of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on the spatial distribution of economic activity in the American West. Using variation in the potential damage intensity of the earthquake, we show that more severely affected cities experienced lower population increases relative to less affected cities until the late 20th century. This long lasting effect is largely a result of individuals’ high geographical mobility at that time. Less affected areas became more attractive migration destinations in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, which permanently changed the spatial distribution of economic activity in the American West.

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Suggested Citation

Ager, Philipp and Eriksson, Katherine and Hansen, Casper Worm and Lønstrup, Lars, How the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Shaped Economic Activity in the American West (April 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w25727. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3368017

Philipp Ager (Contact Author)

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

DK-5230 Odense
Denmark

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

Katherine Eriksson

University of California, Davis ( email )

Casper Worm Hansen

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Copenhagen K, DK 1153
Denmark

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Lars Lønstrup

University of Southern Denmark - Department of Business and Economics ( email )

HOME PAGE: http://www.sdu.dk/staff/loe.aspx

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