This research is one of the first to estimate the loss-reduction benefit of government investments in community-level disaster preparedness. Based on empirical, observational data, our approach is different from most disaster-related benefit-cost analyses using probabilistic loss estimation models. Drawing upon disaster aid data, we are able to distinguish preparedness from mitigation projects, develop more precise estimates of the effect of preparedness spending, and also compare the cost-effectiveness of different types of disaster projects and programs (preparedness vs. mitigation). With a particular focus on coastal areas, this project sheds light on the benefits of preparedness for coastal hazards (e.g., floods, hurricanes, and storm surge) and the heterogeneous effects of preparedness investments across regions. Findings from this project would provide policy implications for federal grant programs and local emergency management. These estimates should be particularly useful for guiding decisions related to disaster aid allocation, project-based assessment and related benefit-cost analysis.

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