Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana

Published in: Journal of Ocean and Coastal Economics, Volume 4: Issue 1 (June 2017), Article 3. doi: 10.15351/2373-8456.1062

Posted on RAND.org on July 19, 2017

by Stephen R. Barnes, Craig A. Bond, Nicholas Burger, Katherine Anania, Aaron Strong, Sarah Weilant, Stephanie Virgets

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Louisiana has lost approximately 1,880 square miles of land over the past eighty years. Projections suggest that in a future without action, the next fifty years could result in the loss of 1,750 additional square miles of land area. As land loss continues, a large portion of the natural and man-made capital stocks of coastal Louisiana will be at greater risk of damage, either from land loss or from the associated increase in storm damage. We estimate the replacement cost of capital stock directly at risk from land loss ranges from approximately $2.1 billion to $3.5 billion with economic activity at risk ranging from $2.4 billion to $3.1 billion in output. Increases in storm damage to capital stock range from $8.7 billion to as much as $133 billion with associated disruptions to economic activity ranging from an additional $1.9 billion to $23 billion in total lost output.

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