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The Ohio State University

1. Georgic, Will Cameron. Vulnerability and Policy Response: Unintended Consequences.

Degree: PhD, Agricultural, Environmental and Developmental Economics, 2019, The Ohio State University

There are three general methods for enhancing flood risk resiliency and reducing expected damages: insurance, protection, and retreat. In the United States, the policy portfolio associated with each approach can stand substantial improvement and examples of shortcomings are numerous. In this dissertation, I use models of land use and spatial equilibrium to inform methods of causal inference in order to analyze observed responses to policies aimed at reducing vulnerability. I then offer insights which could help guide improved policies moving forward. Chapters 2 through 4 of this dissertation address economic behavior in response to a unique policy or approach associated with either insurance, protection, or retreat.In Chapter 2, I estimate whether homeowners pay more for homes which are eligible for subsidized and discounted flood insurance premiums. Using an exogenous break in subsidy eligibility specified in the original legislation, I estimate nationwide and metro region specific difference-in-differences models to identify the capitalization of subsidy eligibility in home values. Given the well-known finding that flood insurance uptake is imperfect in 100-year floodplains and in accordance with the predictions of a hedonic model with asymmetric information, I find a rate of capitalization within the bounds of outcomes resulting from fully informed market participants and from buyers and sellers with heterogeneous awareness, averaging approximately $12,000 per eligible residence. I further find that during a temporary removal of subsidies in 2012-2014, the capitalization of subsidies diminished, providing additional evidence of my causal mechanism, and supporting the most recent, pertinent legislation, The Homeowners Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.In Chapter 3, I use the development patterns in southeastern and central Florida following the Flood Control Act of 1948 to estimate the impact of discrete levee construction on rates of housing development with a fixed effect Poisson regression and a nonlinear difference-in-differences identification strategy. I find that newly constructed levees increased the rate of residential development by over 50 percent. Extending my analysis to the 21st century, I use a duration model to characterize the optimal stopping decision inherent to land conversion and a control function to account for price endogeneity, and I find that the protection provided by levees creates a lasting effect on residential development patterns. In Chapter 4, I estimate the capitalization of proximity to floodplain property buyouts and I show that accounting for spillovers from vulnerable property acquisitions significantly changes the cost-benefit calculation, potentially permitting more generous offers to be made. Using a novel and exhaustive dataset for housing transactions in Harris County, Texas, I find that a 200 meter reduction in the distance to the nearest buyout is associated with a $365 increase in the price of the average home. However, this average effect masks important… Advisors/Committee Members: Klaiber, H. Allen (Advisor).

Subjects/Keywords: Environmental Economics; Flood; Land Use; Policy; Quasi-Experiment

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APA (6th Edition):

Georgic, W. C. (2019). Vulnerability and Policy Response: Unintended Consequences. (Doctoral Dissertation). The Ohio State University. Retrieved from

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Georgic, Will Cameron. “Vulnerability and Policy Response: Unintended Consequences.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, The Ohio State University. Accessed November 17, 2019.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Georgic, Will Cameron. “Vulnerability and Policy Response: Unintended Consequences.” 2019. Web. 17 Nov 2019.


Georgic WC. Vulnerability and Policy Response: Unintended Consequences. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2019. [cited 2019 Nov 17]. Available from:

Council of Science Editors:

Georgic WC. Vulnerability and Policy Response: Unintended Consequences. [Doctoral Dissertation]. The Ohio State University; 2019. Available from: