Natural disaster losses can be mitigated through investments in structure hardening. When property owners do not correctly perceive risks or there are spatial externalities, it may be beneficial to mandate such investments through building codes. The paper presented in this Research Seminar provides the first comprehensive evaluation of the effect of California's wildfire building codes on structure survival. The authors combine administrative damage data from several states, representing almost all U.S. homes destroyed by wildfire since 2007. They merge this damage data to the universe of assessor data for destroyed and surviving homes inside wildfire perimeters. There are remarkable vintage effects in resilience for California homes built after 1995. Using differences in code requirements across jurisdictions, the authors show that these vintage effects are due to state and local building code changes prompted by the deadly 1991 Oakland Firestorm. Moreover, they find that these improvements increase the survival probability of neighboring homes due to reduced structure-to-structure spread. Their results imply that property losses during recent wildfire seasons would have been several billion dollars smaller if all older homes had been built to current standards.


Patrick Baylis

The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada

Environmental, energy, and ecological problems have grown faster than their solutions. Economists have an important role to play to address these issues by using the latest science, rigorous methods and innovative policy solutions. The SWEEEP webinar series aims to convene the academic community to contribute to the scientific, economic, and policy discourses on important environmental and energy issues.

The seminar presentations are scheduled to last 60 minutes, with questions at the end.

The European Institute on Economics and the Environment is a partnership between Resources for the Future and Foundation CMCC. EIEE’s impartial economic and environmental research aims to facilitate the transition to a sustainable, inclusive society.
Contact: Professor Massimo Tavoni

The Energy Management research team at the Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM) combines research on economics, strategic management, technology innovation and energy policy in order to create and share knowledge that will help society move towards a low-carbon future.
Contact: Professor Sébastien Houde

The ZEW – Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research is a leading German economic policy institute and a member of the Leibniz Association. ZEW's applied research aims to study and help design well-performing markets and institutions in Europe. In particular, it seeks to understand how to create a market framework that will enable the sustainable and efficient development of European economies.
Contact: Professor Sebastian Rausch

The Centre for Energy Policy and Economics (CEPE) was established in 1999 to complement the natural science and technical-oriented disciplines at ETH Zurich, by contributing to research and teaching in energy policy and economics.  Through rigorous application of modern empirical methods, the goal of CEPE is to make critical contributions to the design and evaluation of energy and climate policy instruments.
Contact: Professor Massimo Filippini

Please contact Kinga Tchorzewska if you wish to participate in the online seminar.


19.05.2021 | 15:00 - 16:00 (CET)

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