CoPS/IMPACT Working Paper Number G-194

Title: Assessment of the Regional Economic Impacts of Catastrophic Events: CGE analysis of resource loss and behavioral effects of a RDD attack scenario

Authors: J.A. Giesecke, W.J. Burns, A. Barrett, E. Bayrak, A. Rose, M. Suher


Using a large-scale CGE model, we investigate the short-run and long-run regional economic consequences of a catastrophic event - attack via radiological dispersal device (RDD) - centered on the downtown Los Angeles area. We distinguish two main routes via which such a catastrophic event might affect regional economic activity: (i) reduction in effective resource supply (the resource loss effect) and (ii) shifts in the perceptions of economic agents (the behavioral effect). Broadly, the resource loss effect relates to the physical destructiveness of the event, while the behavioral effect relates to changes in fear and risk perception on the part of firms, households and government. Both affect the size of the regional economy. RDD detonation (Dirty Bomb) causes little direct capital damage and few casualties, but generates substantial short-run resource loss via business interruption. Changes in fear and risk perception increase the supply cost of resources to the affected region, while simultaneously reducing demand for goods produced in the region. In both the short-run and long-run in the affected region, households may require higher wages to work, investors may require higher returns to invest, and economic agents may switch their preferences away from goods produced. We show that because perception effects may have lingering long-term deleterious impacts on both the supply-cost of resources to a region and willingness to pay for regional output, they have the potential to generate changes in real regional GDP that are much greater than those generated by the resource loss effect. Implications for policy that might mitigate these effects are discussed.

JEL classification: H56, R13, C68, D58.

Please cite the later published version in:
Risk Analysis, Vol. 32(4), April 2012, pp. 583-600.

Keywords: RDD, economic impact, terrorism, risk perception.

Working Paper Number G-194 can be downloaded in PDF format.

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