Discussion Paper Details

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Title: Cities and the Sea Level

Author(s): Yatang Lin, Thomas McDermott and Guy Michaels

Publication Date: April 2021

Keyword(s): Cities, climate change and Sea Level Rise

Programme Area(s): International Trade and Regional Economics and Labour Economics

Abstract: Construction on low elevation coastal zones is risky for both residents and taxpayers who bail them out, especially when sea levels are rising. We study this construction using spatially disaggregated data on the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts. We document nine stylized facts, including a sizeable rise in the share of coastal housing built on flood-prone land from 1990-2010, which concentrated particularly in densely populated areas. To explain our findings, we develop a model of a monocentric coastal city, which we then use to explore the consequences of sea level rise and government policies.

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Bibliographic Reference

Lin, Y, McDermott, T and Michaels, G. 2021. 'Cities and the Sea Level'. London, Centre for Economic Policy Research.