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Risk Perceptions, Optimism, and Natural Hazards


*Department of Economics, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA;


This article uses the panel survey developed for the Health and Retirement Study to evaluate whether Hurricane Andrew in 1992 altered longevity expectations of respondents who lived in Dade County, Florida, the location experiencing the majority of about 20 billion dollars of damage. Longevity expectations have been used as a proxy measure for both individual subjective risk assessments and dispositional optimism. The panel structure allows comparison of those respondents' longevity assessments when the timing of their survey responses bracket Andrew with those of individuals where it does not. After controlling for health effects, the results indicate a significant reduction in longevity expectations due to the information respondents appear to have associated with the storm.