U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights


The Effects of Adaptation Measures on Hurricane-Induced Infrastructure/Property Losses
Published: September 22, 2016
Posted: January 19, 2018

Spending on FEMA ex-ante mitigation and planning projects leads to greater reductions in property losses than spending on ex-post adaptation programs.

The Science
Without empirical evidence, little can be said about how effective alternative hurricane adaptation measures are in terms of promoting local resilience. It is reasonable to assume that protective/adaptive measures should mitigate losses; however, their effectiveness might vary depending on the severity of hazard as well as the behavioral responses of private agents. Researchers under a multi-institutional Cooperative Agreement led by Stanford University compare the relative effectiveness of pre-disaster risk reduction activities and post-disaster response and recovery assistance by econometrically estimating a model of historical property damages comprising 651 counties along the Atlantic coast that have incurred hurricane-induced property losses at least once during the period 1989-2009. 

The Impact
While recovery spending is effective overall, the marginal return per dollar of investment in recovery spending is almost half that of investing in long-term hurricane mitigation programs. Given that current FEMA spending on hurricane mitigation programs (planning, warning systems and improvement in structural mitigation) is smaller by an order of magnitude relative to spending on disaster response and clean-up programs, these results suggest that we would expect a significantly larger return on investment if more spending was redirected to ex-ante mitigation measures at the margin.

Summary
The researchers constructed an empirical model to evaluate the relative effectiveness of FEMA expenditures on hurricane induced property losses. Results show that spending on FEMA ex-ante mitigation and planning projects leads to greater reductions in property losses than spending on ex-post adaptation programs — specifically, a one percent increase in annual spending on ex-ante risk reduction and warning projects reduces damages by 0.21 percent while a one percent increase in ex-post recovery and clean-up spending reduces damages by 0.12. Although both types of program spending are effective, the results show that the marginal return from spending on programs that target long-term mitigation and risk management to be almost twice that of spending on ex-post recovery programs. These findings suggest there are important potential gains that could be realized from the further diversification of spending across project categories.

Contacts (BER PM)
Bob Vallario
Integrated Assessment Research
Bob.Vallario@science.doe.gov

(PI Contact)
John Weyant
Stanford University
weyant@stanford.edu

Funding
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research Program, Integrated Assessment Research Program, Grant no. DE-SC0005171.

Publications
Davlasheridze, M., K. Fisher-Vanden, A. Klaiber. 2017. “The Effects of Adaptation Measures on Hurricane Induced Property Losses,” Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, 81:93-114. [10.1016/j.jeem.2016.09.005]

Related Links
Paper: Reference link
Supplementary material: Word doc

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Multisector Dynamics (formerly Integrated Assessment)

Division: SC-23.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

BER supports basic research and scientific user facilities to advance DOE missions in energy and environment. More about BER

Recent Highlights

Aug 24, 2019
New Approach for Studying How Microbes Influence Their Environment
A diverse group of scientists suggests a common framework and targeting of known microbial processes [more...]

Aug 08, 2019
Nutrient-Hungry Peatland Microbes Reduce Carbon Loss Under Warmer Conditions
Enzyme production in peatlands reduces carbon lost to respiration under future high temperatures. [more...]

Aug 05, 2019
Amazon Forest Response to CO2 Fertilization Dependent on Plant Phosphorus Acquisition
AmazonFACE Model Intercomparison. The Science Plant growth is dependent on the availabi [more...]

Jul 29, 2019
A Slippery Slope: Soil Carbon Destabilization
Carbon gain or loss depends on the balance between competing biological, chemical, and physical reac [more...]

Jul 15, 2019
Field Evaluation of Gas Analyzers for Measuring Ecosystem Fluxes
How gas analyzer type and correction method impact measured fluxes. The Science A side- [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)