The core purpose of applied research in the earthquake mitigation field is to assist policymakers. What types of information are required for the creation of
cost-effective policies? Much of the previous social-science-based research on earthquakes has focused on measuring the total economic impact of damage to structures and contents and, more recently, of business interruption.
How are people of all income strata impacted by a major earthquake? Displacement from housing is an obvious aspect, but less obvious is the distribution of job losses associated with earthquake damage and business interruption. This research deals with these latter, less obvious aspects, and, by extension, how members of different income groups might be affected by mitigation costs and benefits.
Because the impacts of earthquakes vary so widely by location, we explore the income distribution effects at the level of individual cities. The Southern California Planning Model-2 (SCPM-2) is used to model the economic impacts of a hypothetical earthquake on Los Angeles’s Elysian Park fault, and census data on
occupation are used to distribute these impacts across income groups within each city in the region. This permits the impacts of such an earthquake, and potential mitigation programs, to be assessed in terms of city-specific changes in income equity measures.
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