Adapting to Flood Risk: Evidence from a Panel of Global Cities

37 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2022 Last revised: 7 May 2023

See all articles by Sahil Gandhi

Sahil Gandhi

The University of Manchester

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Rajat Kochhar

University of Southern California

Somik Lall

World Bank

Vaidehi Tandel

The University of Manchester

Date Written: June 2022

Abstract

Urban flooding poses danger to people and places. People can adapt to this risk by moving to safer areas or by investing in private self-protection. Places can offset some of the risk through urban planning and infrastructure investment. By constructing a global city data set that covers the years 2012 to 2018, we test several flood risk adaptation hypotheses. Population growth is lower in cities that suffer from more floods. Richer cities suffer fewer deaths from flood events. Over time, the death toll from floods is declining. Cities protected by dams experience faster population growth. Using lights at night to measure short run urban economic dynamics, we document that floods cause less damage to richer cities and cities with protective dams. Cities with more past experience with floods suffer less from flooding.

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Suggested Citation

Gandhi, Sahil and Kahn, Matthew E. and Kochhar, Rajat and Lall, Somik and Tandel, Vaidehi, Adapting to Flood Risk: Evidence from a Panel of Global Cities (June 2022). NBER Working Paper No. w30137, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4134933 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4134933

Sahil Gandhi (Contact Author)

The University of Manchester ( email )

United Kingdom

Matthew E. Kahn

University of Southern California ( email )

2250 Alcazar Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Rajat Kochhar

University of Southern California ( email )

Somik Lall

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Vaidehi Tandel

The University of Manchester ( email )

Oxford Road
Manchester, N/A M13 9PL
United Kingdom

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