It's been really sad in the last couple of weeks to see the images of wildfires sweeping across the western US, and hearing about so many lives being lost or disrupted. These disasters have devastating effects on health, but also housing, jobs, and household income. 👇 (1/8)
The extent of the damaging effect on labor markets may not be obvious or easy to anticipate. Here is a short paper that @catrihel and I wrote last year to learn more about how wildfires impact lives and what can be done to mitigate damage. (2/8)…
We looked at >1,400 wildfires in California between 2000 and 2018. We found that the typical wildfire leads to higher employment in construction and manufacturing (500+ people each), in the months after the fire. This is consistent with the need to rebuild. (3/8)
These new jobs are redistributed away from the services sector, which loses up to 2,000 workers at its peak for the average fire. The need to rebuild mitigates aggregate job losses, but does not fully cover them. (4/8)
We also find a sharp but temporary rise in local government workers, of between 500 and 1,000 on average, in the two months immediately after the fire. (5/8)
Since these workers are in high demand and doing a very tough job, we see a striking increase in average government wages of $30/week, well above the $6/week wage rise in the private sector. (6/8)
Which jobs are lost in the services sector? It’s not just the local retailers at risk – teachers and nurses may also be out of work. As a result, we recommend in the paper the extension of state support to local schools and hospitals. (7/8)
This paper is a good example of the sort of thing you can get up to at the @Kennedy_School if you take @tedsvo’s class. Thanks to him for giving us the freedom to pick such a meaningful topic as part of the final assignment! (8/8)

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