Does When You Die Depend on Where You Live? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina

Tatyana Deryugina, David Molitor

Bibliographic Information

NBER Working Paper No. 24822
Issued in July 2018
NBER Program(s):AG, EEE, HC, HE, PE

A non-technical summary of this paper is available in the 2018 number 4 issue of the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health. You can sign up to receive the NBER Bulletin on Aging and Health by email.

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We follow Medicare cohorts over time and space to estimate Hurricane Katrina's long-run mortality effects on elderly and disabled victims initially living in New Orleans. Inclusive of the initial shock, the hurricane improved survival eight years past the storm by 1.74 percentage points. Migration to lower-mortality regions explains most of this survival increase. Migrants to low- versus high-mortality regions look similar at baseline, but migrants’ subsequent mortality is 0.83-0.90 percentage points lower for each percentage-point reduction in local mortality, quantifying causal effects of place on mortality among this population. By contrast, migrants’ mortality is unrelated to local Medicare spending.

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