Department of Economics Fall 2017 Seminar Series

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Date(s) - 09/15/2017
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

BSB 103, Behavioral Sciences Building

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The second seminar in the Department of Economics Seminar Series for the Fall 2017 term is Friday, 9/15/17. The seminars are open to everyone and are held in the Behavioral Sciences building, room 103, at 3:00pm.

September 15th’s seminar speaker is Ryan Levitt, one of the department’s instructors and a PhD graduate student. Ryan’s main field of research is in environmental economics. He will be presenting his paper: “Wage effects of a catastrophic disaster: an application of the synthetic control method to Hurricane Katrina.”

Hurricane Katrina led to catastrophic flooding in the city of New Orleans, resulting in a substantial displacement of the city’s population. This displacement precipitated a large disruption in New Orleans’ labor market. The purpose of this study is to investigate the long-term impacts of this disruption. Using the synthetic control method, the study demonstrates a significant and persistent increase in average wages attributable to the disaster. Next, the study investigates the extent to which this increase can be attributable to changes in the sectoral composition of the city. Results suggest that in the first five years following Katrina the proportion of employment in higher paid sectors increased – a result likely driven by the displacement of low-income households. Beginning in 2010, we observe the opposite result, in which the proportion of employment in lower paid sectors increased. This suggests that although average wages appear to be converging towards their estimated synthetic control, this is largely the consequence of changes in sectoral composition, rather than a recovery to the city’s pre-Katrina trajectory.