Abstract: Critical infrastructure and public utility systems are often severely damaged by natural disasters like hurricanes. The disruptions in the supply of public utility services result in direct losses of households’ well-being. In this paper, we use responses collected through a household survey to analyze and quantify the economic impacts of utility disruptions on household well-being in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy.

Using household survey data, we attempt to estimate the household damages due the disruption in utility services, including electricity, water, gas, phone services and public transportation. We also study the household recovery process from the shock inflicted by hurricane Sandy. Furthermore, a GIS analysis of the survey data is included in order to illustrate the hurricane impacts.

Our study contributes to the literature by investigating the relative importance of each utility service through estimating each utility’s contribution to the household’s total economic loss and its role in the recovery process. Understanding the major determinants of damages caused by disruptions in public utility services and the process through which it affects household’s well-being can provide key inputs for disaster management and community resilience.

Speaker Bio: Pallab Mozumder is an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Earth & Environment with joint appointment in the Dept. of Economics at Florida International University (FIU), Miami, Florida. He coordinates the Social Science Research Lab at the International Hurricane Research Center (IHRC) at FIU. He is an environmental economist with expertise in socio-economic aspects of natural hazards.

His research on hurricane risk mitigation and evacuation behavior has been funded by federal and state agencies such as the National Science Foundation, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Florida Department of Community Affairs and Florida Sea Grant. He received his PhD in Environmental and Natural Resources Economics from the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Before joining at FIU, he spent two years as a Post Doctoral Fellow at The Environmental Institute (TEI), University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. In 2017-18, he is a Sabbatical Scholar at the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at the Boston University.