We investigate whether disasters can lead to innovation. We construct a US county-level panel of hurricane damages using climate data, hurricane tracks, and a wind field model and match these to patent applications by the location of their inventor over the last century in the United States. We examine both general innovation and patents that explicitly mention the terms ’hurricane’ or ’storm.’ In line with the current literature that hypothesizes innovative activity driven by shocks, in particular innovation intended to mitigate future shocks, we find that hurricanes lead to temporary boost in damage-mitigating patents a few years after the event. However, we also show there is long-term, lasting over two decades, general reduction of innovation after a damaging storm. We conclude that hurricanes, and possibly other types of disasters, cannot be viewed as a ’benefit in disguise,’ and that these events are unlikely to generate longer-term beneficial dynamics in an adversely affected location.

Creatively Destructive Hurricanes: Do Disasters Spark Innovation?

Noy, I
;
2023-01-01

Abstract

We investigate whether disasters can lead to innovation. We construct a US county-level panel of hurricane damages using climate data, hurricane tracks, and a wind field model and match these to patent applications by the location of their inventor over the last century in the United States. We examine both general innovation and patents that explicitly mention the terms ’hurricane’ or ’storm.’ In line with the current literature that hypothesizes innovative activity driven by shocks, in particular innovation intended to mitigate future shocks, we find that hurricanes lead to temporary boost in damage-mitigating patents a few years after the event. However, we also show there is long-term, lasting over two decades, general reduction of innovation after a damaging storm. We conclude that hurricanes, and possibly other types of disasters, cannot be viewed as a ’benefit in disguise,’ and that these events are unlikely to generate longer-term beneficial dynamics in an adversely affected location.
2023
Creative destruction · Hurricanes · Patents · US counties
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2023_ERE_85_Noy.pdf

non disponibili

Tipologia: Versione Editoriale (PDF)
Licenza: Non pubblico
Dimensione 1.62 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
1.62 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12571/29992
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 4
social impact