Well-being Effects of Extreme Weather Events in the United States

56 Pages Posted: 20 Oct 2020

Date Written: August 20, 2020


The increase in weather and climate disasters in recent years has prompted an interest in analyzing their consequences and the mitigation and adaptation measures that can help minimize their potentially large impacts on individuals’ welfare. We match thirty-one billion-dollar disasters with individual survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to estimate the effect of extreme weather events on the subjective well-being of U.S. residents. Our results indicate that natural disasters have a negative and robust impact on subjective well-being in the affected communities, and that, on average, this impact peaks 6 months after the event, and then decays over time. We then investigate the attenuating impact of health care access, flood insurance, and governmental assistance programs and find a partial compensating role for risk-transfer and relief measures. We also find that stronger emotional and social support mitigates the negative impact of natural disasters.

Keywords: Subjective well-being, extreme weather, disasters, climate change, mental health

JEL Classification: Q54, I31, I38

Suggested Citation

Ferreira, Susana, Well-being Effects of Extreme Weather Events in the United States (August 20, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3685572

Susana Ferreira (Contact Author)

University of Georgia ( email )

Athens, GA 30602-6254
United States

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