Institute for Economic and Social Research

IESR Environmental Economics Seminar Series|David Keiser


Title: Economic Effects of Environmental Crises: Evidence from Flint, Michigan

Speaker:David Keiser,University of Massachusetts Amherst

Time:October 28, 2020 9:00-10:30

Onilne seminar

About the speaker:

David Keiser is an Associate Professor in the Department of Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He is an environmental and natural resource economist with a focus on the economics of U.S. water quality policy. His research investigates both surface water quality (e.g., lakes, rivers, and streams) and drinking water quality. Informed by economic theory, he utilizes modern econometric methods and integrated assessment models to answer critical, applied research questions in this domain. His work also contributes to the literature in non-market valuation surrounding climate change and local air pollution.


In April 2014, Flint, Michigan switched its drinking water supply from the Detroit water system to the Flint River as a temporary means to save $5M. Over the course of eighteen months, it was revealed that the switch exposed residents to dangerous levels of lead, culminating in an emergency declaration in October 2015. In this paper, we examine economic impacts as this crisis unfolded. We estimate that averting expenditures since the switch have exceeded $20M and the value of the Flint housing stock has fallen by $345M to $500M. Over this same period, state and federal spending has exceeded $343M.


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