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Evaluating Wildfire Exposure: Using Wellbeing Data to Estimate and Value the Impacts of Wildfire

Johnston, David and Onder, Yasin Kursat and Rahman, Habibur and Ulubasoglu, Mehmet (2021): Evaluating Wildfire Exposure: Using Wellbeing Data to Estimate and Value the Impacts of Wildfire.

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Abstract

This paper estimates and quantifies the wellbeing effects of the 2009 Black Saturday Bushfires, the deadliest wildfire event in Australia's known history. Using subjective wellbeing data from a nationally representative longitudinal study and adopting an individual fixed-effects approach, our results identify a significant reduction in life satisfaction for individuals residing in close proximity of the wildfires. The negative wellbeing effect is valued at A$52,300 per annum; corresponding to 80% of the average annual income of a full-time employed adult. The satisfaction domain most negatively affected is how safe the person feels, and the group most affected are people with low social support. A delayed adverse mental health effect is also identified.

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