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Taken by Storm: Business Financing, Survival, and Contagion in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

Emek Basker and Javier Miranda

No 1406, Working Papers from Department of Economics, University of Missouri

Abstract: We use hurricane Katrina's damage to the Mississippi coast in 2005 as a natural experiment to study business survival in the aftermath of a capital-destruction shock. We find very high exit rates for businesses that incurred physical damage, particularly for small firms and less-productive establishments. Auxiliary evidence from the Survey of Business Owners suggests that the differential size effect is tied to the presence of financial constraints. In the long run, the cumulative effect of the storm was even larger, compounded by local demand externalities due to the proximity of surviving businesses to damaged businesses that had exited. These forces explain why the most heavily damaged coastal areas of Mississippi had not recovered within five years despite significant help from both federal and state sources.

Keywords: Retail; chain; credit constraints; hurricane; Katrina; natural disaster; exit (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D22 L11 L81 L83 Q54 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-ger
Date: 2014-03-31, Revised 2014-10-23
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