Sisi MengFollow

Document Type



Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor's Name

Pallab Mozumder

First Advisor's Committee Title

committee chair

Second Advisor's Name

Mihaela Pintea

Second Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Third Advisor's Name

Mahadev Bhat

Third Advisor's Committee Title

committee member

Fourth Advisor's Name

Sheng Guo

Fourth Advisor's Committee Title

committee member


Environmental Economics, Climate Change, Natural Hazard

Date of Defense



According to Munich Re (2013), economic losses related to natural disasters have increased from an average of $50 billion in the 1980s to $200 billion over the last decade. The cost of natural disasters is accumulating rapidly and some claim that climate change is responsible. Others believe that human behaviors like population growth or land use should be blamed for these rising costs. The process of climate change has already taken place, and it is expected to continue to impact the future. As a result, people are more vulnerable today. Therefore, understanding the economic aspects of climate change and natural hazard risks should be considered as a major issue and addressed in greater detail. This dissertation aimed to explore household preferences of climate change adaptation and the economic impacts of natural hazards at both micro- and macro- levels.

The dissertation consisted of three related empirical studies based on the two main changes that will occur with climate change predicted by scientific climate models: stronger hurricanes and rising sea levels. The first chapter examined the impact of a recent hurricane on household activities. The objective was to find out whether a more intensified hurricane caused greater damages, and whether such damages had a long-lasting impact on household recovery. If the impact of natural hazards is worse than before, people should avoid putting themselves in harm's way. However, evidence indicates that the population in coastal cities is still growing fast, as people tend to reside near the beaches and attractive landscapes. Concerns are thus prompted by the possible lack of perceptions for future risks caused by natural hazards. Therefore, the second chapter focused on household perceptions and preferences for adapting to sea level rise in Florida. Lastly, although a disaster strikes rich or poor nations indifferently, some small island nations are among the most vulnerable. In the third chapter, the macroeconomic implications of natural hazards in Central America and the Caribbean were investigated. A careful examination of the economic factors that can lead to smaller losses and higher abilities to cope with disasters is crucial in such countries.





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