How the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Shaped Economic Activity in the American West
This paper examines the long-run effects of the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake on the spatial distribution of economic activity in the American West. Using variation in the potential damage intensity of the earthquake, we show that more severely affected cities experienced lower population increases relative to less affected cities until the late 20th century. This long lasting effect is largely a result of individuals’ high geographical mobility at that time. Less affected areas became more attractive migration destinations in the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, which permanently changed the spatial distribution of economic activity in the American West.
The authors would like to thank Alberto Alesina, Sascha Becker, Carl-Johan Dalgaard, Francesco Drago, James Fenske,Walker Hanlon, Marc Klemp, Christopher Meissner, Stelios Michalopoulos, Nathan Nunn, Paul Sharp, Daniel Sturm, Holger Strulik, David Weil, Nico Voigtlaender, and seminar participants at the University of Copenhagen, the Fresh Meeting at the University of Southern Denmark, the Spanish Economic Association Meeting in Girona 2015, the 1st CREA workshop in Luxembourg, and at the University of Goettingen. The research of Philipp Ager and Casper Worm Hansen is generously funded by the Danish Research Council reference No. DFF – 4182-00043. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Philipp Ager & Katherine Eriksson & Casper Worm Hansen & Lars Lønstrup, 2020. "How the 1906 San Francisco earthquake shaped economic activity in the American West," Explorations in Economic History, . citation courtesy of