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

May 10, 2019
Quantifying Decision Uncertainty in Water Management via a Coupled Agent-Based Model
Considering risk perception can improve the representation of human decision-making processes in age [more...]

May 09, 2019
Projecting Global Urban Area Growth Through 2100 Based on Historical Time Series Data and Future Scenarios
Study provides country-specific urban area growth models and the first dataset on country-level urba [more...]

May 05, 2019
Calibrating Building Energy Demand Models to Refine Long-Term Energy Planning
A new, flexible calibration approach improved model accuracy in capturing year-to-year changes in bu [more...]

May 03, 2019
Calibration and Uncertainty Analysis of Demeter for Better Downscaling of Global Land Use and Land Cover Projections
Researchers improved the Demeter model’s performance by calibrating key parameters and establi [more...]

Apr 22, 2019
Representation of U.S. Warm Temperature Extremes in Global Climate Model Ensembles
Representation of warm temperature events varies considerably among global climate models, which has [more...]

List all highlights (possible long download time)