Shelter from the Storm: Which Safe Asset for Climate Disasters?
94 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2020
Date Written: January 23, 2020
Hurricanes give rise to flight-to-safety episodes during which equity market realized volatility increases and stock prices are depressed. Using an event study, we show that High Tech stocks consistently behave differently from stocks in other indus- tries. Converting their abnormal, risk-adjusted, returns into a certainty equivalent, we show that it is systematically greater than the short-term bond return. High Tech stocks’ prices include a safety premium of at least 3.75% annualized and peaks at 16% annualized for periods of up to 20 days after hurricanes made landfall. This safe asset feature and the safety premium attached to it has strengthened in the period since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. The flight-to-safety is not associated with a flight-to-liquidity episode, nor with changing risk aversion, but is a flight-to- quality. The robust findings confirm that risky assets (High Tech stocks) can act as safe assets during periods of market distress caused by extreme weather events.
Keywords: Climate change, climate finance, event study, extreme weather events, flight-to-safety, flight-to-quality, hurricanes, safe assets, safety premium
JEL Classification: G14, G17, Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation