Unleashing Innovation in the Wake of Disaster: Patenting Increases Post-Hurricane Katrina

40 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2021 Last revised: 8 Jan 2024

See all articles by Luis Ballesteros

Luis Ballesteros

Boston University - Questrom School of Business

Date Written: December 13, 2023

Abstract

Theoretically motivated by evidence that large exogenous shocks can produce enduring fluctuations in economic behavior, this study shows that counties affected by Hurricane Katrina exhibit substantial post-disaster increases in the quantity and quality of patenting compared to unaffected counterfactual counties. The significance of the matched-sample difference-in-differences estimates rises in damage severity, persists up to 10 years, and is robust to factors such as a post-disaster economic rebound, changes in the demand for specific innovation, aid and investment, wealth, education, and traditional explanations of innovative activity, such as firm R&D, institutions, and market factors, but enhanced by inventor density and collaboration. Using georeferenced histories of inventors, the analyses trace the “Katrina effect” and control for selective migration and company affiliation. The findings point to an understudied environmental driver of innovation.

Keywords: innovation, disasters, Hurricane Katrina, risk-taking behavior, risk preferences

JEL Classification: A12, D12, D91, O30, 031, R12

Suggested Citation

Ballesteros, Luis, Unleashing Innovation in the Wake of Disaster: Patenting Increases Post-Hurricane Katrina (December 13, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3980107 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3980107

Luis Ballesteros (Contact Author)

Boston University - Questrom School of Business ( email )

595 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA MA 02215
United States

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