Unhappiness after Hurricane Katrina

33 Pages Posted: 9 May 2006 Last revised: 23 Oct 2010

See all articles by Miles S. Kimball

Miles S. Kimball

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics; University of Colorado Boulder; Center for Economic and Social Research, USC; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Helen Levy

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Fumio Ohtake

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research

Yoshiro Tsutsui

Osaka University - Graduate School of Economics

Date Written: March 2006

Abstract

In August, September and October of 2005, the Monthly Surveys of Consumers fielded by the University of Michigan included questions about the happiness of a nationally representative sample of U.S. adults. The date of each interview is known. Looking at the data week by week, reported happiness dipped significantly in the first week of September, after the seriousness of the damage done by Katrina became clear. The impulse response of happiness is especially strong in the South Central region, closest to the devastation of Katrina. The dip in happiness lasted two or three weeks in the South Central region; in the rest of the country, reported happiness returned to normal after one or two weeks. In addition to the reaction to Katrina, happiness dipped significantly after the October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. These results illustrate the potential of high-frequency happiness data to yield information about preferences over regional, national and international conditions by indicating the magnitude of the good or bad news conveyed by events.

Suggested Citation

Kimball, Miles S. and Levy, Helen and Ohtake, Fumio and Tsutsui, Yoshiro, Unhappiness after Hurricane Katrina (March 2006). NBER Working Paper No. w12062. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=888264

Miles S. Kimball (Contact Author)

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Department of Economics ( email )

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University of Colorado Boulder ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.colorado.edu/Economics/people/faculty/kimball.html

Center for Economic and Social Research, USC ( email )

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Helen Levy

University of Michigan at Ann Arbor - Institute for Social Research (ISR) ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI 48106-1248
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Fumio Ohtake

Osaka University - Institute of Social and Economic Research ( email )

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Suita
Osaka, 565-0871
Japan

Yoshiro Tsutsui

Osaka University - Graduate School of Economics ( email )

1-7 Machikaneyama
Toyonaka, 560-0043
Japan

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