Climate Change Adaptation
Friday, Jan. 4, 2019 2:30 PM - 4:30 PM
- Chair: Catherine Wolfram, University of California-Berkeley
Moral Hazard, Wildfires, and Adaptation to Climate Change
AbstractWe measure the degree to which large government expenditures on wildland fire protection subsidize development in high risk locations. A substantial share of the total social costs of wildfires comes from federal firefighting efforts that prevent or reduce property loss. We assemble administrative data from multiple state and federal agencies to calculate the expected cost to the government of protecting at-risk homes from wildfire, in great spatial detail and for the entire western United States. To do so, we first measure the causal impact on firefighting costs when homes are built in harm's way. We then add up historical protection expenditures incurred on behalf of each home and calculate an actuarial measure of expected future cost. This measure is increasing in fire risk and surprisingly steeply decreasing in development density. In high-cost areas, the expected present value of fire protection exceeds 10% of a home's transaction value. We consider the potential for these subsidies to distort location choice, development density, and private investments in risk reduction.
Malthus in Africa? Positive and Preventive Checks on Population in a Changing Climate
AbstractCurrent efforts to understand the social and economic impacts of climate change often overlook the potential mediating role of demographic feedback, despite its importance in Malthusian theory. How relevant is the Malthusian model in the poorest economies today, and where within them is it most relevant? We shed light on these questions by estimating fertility and mortality responses to climate change in sub-Saharan Africa over half a century. To understand the roles of adaptation and liquidity constraints in driving our results, we distinguish responses to weather fluctuations from responses to longer-run climate change. We also investigate whether the responses vary across space, allowing us to locate the areas most consistent with Malthusian theory.
- Q5 - Environmental Economics
- D0 - General