Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Interactions between Resident Risk Perceptions and Wildfire Risk Mitigation: Evidence from Simultaneous Equations Modeling

Meldrum, James and Brenkert-Smith, Hannah and Champ, Patricia and Gomez, Jamie and Falk, Lilia and Barth, Christopher (2019): Interactions between Resident Risk Perceptions and Wildfire Risk Mitigation: Evidence from Simultaneous Equations Modeling. Published in: Fire , Vol. 2, No. 3 (12 August 2019): pp. 1-18.

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Abstract

Fire science emphasizes that mitigation actions on residential property, including structural hardening and maintaining defensible space, can reduce the risk of wildfire to a home. Accordingly, a rich body of social science literature investigates the determinants of wildfire risk mitigation behaviors of residents living in fire-prone areas. Here, we investigate relationships among wildfire hazards, residents’ risk perceptions, and conditions associated with mitigation actions using a combination of simulated wildfire conditions, household survey responses, and professionally assessed parcel characteristic data. We estimate a simultaneous model of these data that accounts for potential direct feedbacks between risk perceptions and parcel-level conditions. We also compare the use of self-reported versus assessed parcel-level data for estimating these relationships. Our analysis relies on paired survey and assessment data for approximately 2000 homes in western Colorado. Our simultaneous model demonstrates dual-directional interactions between risk perceptions and conditions associated with mitigation actions, with important implications for inference from simpler approaches. In addition to improving general understanding of decision-making about risk and natural hazards, our findings can support the effectiveness of publicly supported programs intended to encourage mitigation to reduce society’s overall wildfire risk.

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