Voting with their Sandals: Partisan Residential Sorting on Climate Change Risk
47 Pages Posted:
Date Written: October 2020
Climate change partisanship is reflected in residential choice. Comparing individual occupants at properties in the same zip code with similar elevation and proximity to the coast, registered Republicans (Democrats) are more (less) likely than Independents to own houses exposed to sea level rise (SLR). Findings are unchanged controlling flexibly for other individual demographics and a variety of granular property characteristics, including the value of the home. This sorting is driven by differential perceptions of long-run SLR risks across the political spectrum not tolerance for current flood risk or preferences for correlated coastal amenities. Observed residential sorting manifests among owners regardless of occupancy, but not among renters. We also find no residential sorting in relation to storm surge exposure, which is a primary driver of current flood risk. Anticipatory sorting on climate change informs models of migration in the face of long-run risks and suggests households that are most likely to vote against climate friendly policies and least likely to adapt may ultimately bear the burden of climate change.
Keywords: Residential sorting, climate change, sea level rise, real estate, politics
JEL Classification: D10, D72, G1, G5, Q5, Q54, R2, R21, R23, R31
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