Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Disaster Preparedness and Disaster Response: Evidence from Water Sales before and after Tropical Cyclones

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 10:35 AM
Board Room (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Jay Shimshack, University of Virginia, Timothy Beatty, University of Minnesota and Richard Volpe, California State Polytechnic University
This paper explores bottled water sales before, during, and after tropical cyclones. We focus on bottled water because local, state, and federal guidelines assert that bottled water is an essential emergency preparedness good. We match a panel of supermarket scanner data with tropical storm and hurricane information. We find that bottled water sales increase modestly in coastal areas as hurricanes approach. We find sharp increases in bottled water sales across impacted stores after hurricane landfalls. Risk, demographics, and prior experience with storms predict response heterogeneity and stockpiling behavior. Hurricanes have measurable market effects on water prices and product composition.