After the Storm
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Empirical research on the impact of natural disasters on economic growth has provided contradictory results and few studies have focused on the United States. In this thesis, I bridge the gap by examining the merits of existing claims on the relationship between natural disasters and growth at the states and county level in the U.S. I find that climatological and geophysical disasters have a small and negative impact on growth rates at the state level, but that this impact disappears over time. At the county level, I find that tornados have a slight but negative impact on per capita GDP levels and growth rates over a five year period across three states that experience this natural phenomenon. Controlling for FEMA aid, I find that there may be upward omitted variable bias in regressions that do not include the amount of aid as a variable. I find evidence that FEMA aid has a small but positive impact on growth and per capita GDP levels at both the county and state level.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers