Predicting Long-Term Business Recovery from Disaster: A Comparison of the Loma Prieta Earthquake and Hurricane Andrew

Webb, Gary R.
Tierney, Kathleen J.
Dahlhamer, James M.
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Disaster Research Center
Although in recent years social scientists have paid increasing attention to the impacts of disasters on the private sector, little is currently known about how disasters affect the long-term economic viability of businesses. Most studies of disaster recovery have taken either households or entire communities as the unit of analysis (Bolin 1982; Bolin and Bolton 1986; Rubin 1981; Rubin, Saperstein, and Barbee 1985), and those that have looked at the economic impacts of disasters tend to focus on large levels of aggregation, such as regional economies, rather than on individual firms (Albala-Bertrand 1993; Cohen 1993; 1995; Friesema et al. 1979; Rossi et al. 1978; West and Lenze 1994). When researchers have studied how disasters affect individual businesses and economic activity, they have generally focused on short-term impacts, rather than the longer-term consequences of disaster victimization (Alesch et al. 1993; Gordon et al. 1995). Thus, it is not currently known whether disasters have any discernible longer-term consequences for individual businesses.
business recovery , Prieta earthquake , Hurricane Andrew