A treatment-effect model to quantify human dimensions of disaster impacts: the case of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico

Wilmer Martínez-Rivera, Thomaz Carvalhaes, Petar Jevtić, T. Agami Reddy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

We propose a supervised learning approach using publicly available panel data to statistically quantify the specific manifestations of human impacts of an extreme event, such as changes number of suicides, substance abuse, excess mortality, and unemployment. This allows us to conceptually focus our framework on human impacts and how by attributing them to disaster events along widely accepted psychological, economic, and social dimensions. Our modified treatment-effect model allows counterfactual baseline conditions to be posited for each manifestation from which an aggregated quantitative multi-faceted measure of human impacts can be determined. The developed statistical methodology could be beneficial to policymakers who must allocate scarce resources to those communities in greater need. We illustrate the applicability of our approach using annual and monthly panel data from 2012 to 2018 encompassing the 2017 Hurricane Maria event across various municipalities in Puerto Rico. Our statistical modeling methodology stands apart since (i) it explicitly and more realistically captures the effect of different human-oriented manifestations of an actual event and (ii) it is flexible enough to accommodate individual preferences of various stakeholders in how they assign importance to multiple manifestations of human impacts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNatural Hazards
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • Hurricane Maria
  • Panel data
  • Treatment-effect model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)

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