Voting with their Sandals: Partisan Residential Sorting on Climate Change Risk

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See all articles by Asaf Bernstein

Asaf Bernstein

University of Colorado at Boulder; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Matthew Gustafson

Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business

Ryan Lewis

University of Colorado, Boulder

Stephen B. Billings

University of Colorado - Boulder

Date Written: October 2020

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Bernstein, Asaf and Gustafson, Matthew and Lewis, Ryan and Billings, Stephen B., Voting with their Sandals: Partisan Residential Sorting on Climate Change Risk (October 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

Asaf Bernstein (Contact Author)

University of Colorado at Boulder ( email )

Campus Box 419
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Matthew Gustafson

Pennsylvania State University - Smeal College of Business ( email )

East Park Avenue
University Park, PA 16802
United States

Ryan Lewis

University of Colorado, Boulder ( email )

Boulder, CO 80309-0419
United States

Stephen B. Billings

University of Colorado - Boulder ( email )

Leeds School of Business
Koelbel Building
Boulder, CO US 80309
United States

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