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Impact of Natural Disasters on the Income Distribution

Regina Pleninger

No 20-474, KOF Working papers from KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich

Abstract: During the last decades, the United States experienced an increase in the number of natural disasters as well as their destructive capability. Several studies suggest a damaging effect of natural disasters on income. In this paper, I estimate the effects of natural disasters on the entire income distribution using county-level data in the United States. In particular, I determine the income fractions that are affected by natural disasters. The results suggest that natural disasters primarily affect middle incomes, thereby leaving income inequality levels mostly unchanged. In addition, the paper examines potential channels that intensify or mitigate the effects, such as social security or the severity of natural disasters. The findings show that social security, assistance programs and migration are important adaptation tools that reduce the effects of natural disasters. In contrast, the occurrence of multiple and severe disasters aggravate the effects.

Keywords: Disaster; Income Distribution; United States; Migration; Panel Data (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 O51 Q54 R23 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 58 pages
Date: 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env, nep-mig and nep-res
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1)

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https://doi.org/10.3929/ethz-b-000404238 (application/pdf)

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Journal Article: Impact of natural disasters on the income distribution (2022) Downloads
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:kof:wpskof:20-474

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