Although earthquakes are large idiosyncratic shocks for affected regions, little is known of their impact on economic activity. Seismic events are rare, the data are crude (the Richter scale measures the magnitude, but says nothing of the associated damages), and counterfactuals are often entirely absent. Using a geophysical methodology devised to gauge seismic damages (the so-called Mercalli scale), we study the evolution of output and employment following seismic events in 95 Italian provinces from 1986 to 2011 for a total of 22 earthquakes. Our identification strategy relies on ideal counterfactuals: ex ante identical neighboring provinces that only differ ex post in terms of damages. We show that following an earthquake, the observed contraction of output and employment is generally small or even negligible. In some cases, the net effect on output and employment can be positive because the stimulus from the reconstruction activities more than compensate for the destruction of physical capital. Finally, we show that the effects on economic activity are nonpersistent, do not spill over from the epicentral region to the neighbors, and tend to be reabsorbed within 2 years from the event.

The impact of earthquakes on economic activity: evidence from Italy

Porcelli F;
2019

Abstract

Although earthquakes are large idiosyncratic shocks for affected regions, little is known of their impact on economic activity. Seismic events are rare, the data are crude (the Richter scale measures the magnitude, but says nothing of the associated damages), and counterfactuals are often entirely absent. Using a geophysical methodology devised to gauge seismic damages (the so-called Mercalli scale), we study the evolution of output and employment following seismic events in 95 Italian provinces from 1986 to 2011 for a total of 22 earthquakes. Our identification strategy relies on ideal counterfactuals: ex ante identical neighboring provinces that only differ ex post in terms of damages. We show that following an earthquake, the observed contraction of output and employment is generally small or even negligible. In some cases, the net effect on output and employment can be positive because the stimulus from the reconstruction activities more than compensate for the destruction of physical capital. Finally, we show that the effects on economic activity are nonpersistent, do not spill over from the epicentral region to the neighbors, and tend to be reabsorbed within 2 years from the event.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
7_Porcelli_Trezzi_2019.pdf

non disponibili

Tipologia: Documento in Versione Editoriale
Licenza: NON PUBBLICO - Accesso privato/ristretto
Dimensione 2.11 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.11 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11586/258791
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact