Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Costs of 'dirty bomb' attack in Los Angeles

Date:
April 23, 2012
Source:
University of Southern California
Summary:
A dirty bomb attack centered on downtown Los Angeles’ financial district could severely impact the region’s economy to the tune of nearly $16 billion, fueled primarily by psychological effects that could persist for a decade, researchers say.

A dirty bomb attack centered on downtown Los Angeles' financial district could severely impact the region's economy to the tune of nearly $16 billion, fueled primarily by psychological effects that could persist for a decade.

The study, published by a team of internationally recognized economists and decision scientists in the current issue of Risk Analysis, monetized the effects of fear and risk perception and incorporated them into a state-of-the-art macroeconomic model.

"We decided to study a terrorist attack on Los Angeles not to scare people, but to alert policymakers just how large the impact of the public's reaction might be," said study co-author William Burns, a research scientist at Decision Research in Eugene, Ore. "This underscores the importance of risk communication before and after a major disaster to reduce economic losses."

Economists most often focus on the immediate economic costs of a terrorist event, such as injuries, cleanup and business closures. In this scenario, those initial costs would total just over $1 billion.

"Terrorism can have a much larger impact than first believed," said study co-author Adam Rose, a research professor with the USC Price School of Public Policy and USC's Center for Risk and Economic Analysis of Terrorism Events (CREATE). "The economic effects of the public's change in behavior are 15 times more costly than the immediate damage in the wake of a disaster."

"These findings illustrate that because the costs of modern disasters are so large, even small changes in public perception and behaviors may significantly affect the economic impact," said Rose, who has published economic estimates of the 9/11 attacks, the Northridge Earthquake and other major disasters.

To estimate how fear and risk perception ripple through the economy after a major terrorist event, the researchers surveyed 625 people nationwide after showing them a mock newspaper article and newscasts about the hypothetical dirty bomb attack to gauge the public's reticence to return to normal life in the financial district.

The study translated these survey results into estimates of what economic premiums would be put on wages and what discounts shoppers would likely require in the aftermath of a terrorist attack.

After six months, 41 percent of those surveyed said they would still not consider shopping or dining in the financial district. And, on average, employees would demand a 25 percent increase in wages to return to their jobs.

"The stigma generated by dirty bomb radiation could generate large changes in the perceived risk of doing business in the region," said co-author James Giesecke of the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University. "However, with regional economies in competition with one another for customers, businesses, and employees, it takes only small changes in perceived risk to generate big losses in economic activity."

The paper relied on one of 15 planning scenarios -- the detonation of a dirty bomb in a city center -- identified by the Department of Homeland Security in an effort to focus anti-terrorism spending nationwide.

Other authors of the study are Paul Slovic with Decision Research and the University of Oregon; Anthony Barrett of ABS Consulting in Arlington, Va.; Ergin Bayrak of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; and Michael Suher of Brown University.

The research was funded by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through USC CREATE and the National Science Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southern California. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. A. Giesecke, W. J. Burns, A. Barrett, E. Bayrak, A. Rose, P. Slovic, M. Suher. Assessment of the Regional Economic Impacts of Catastrophic Events: CGE Analysis of Resource Loss and Behavioral Effects of an RDD Attack Scenario. Risk Analysis, 2012; 32 (4): 583 DOI: 10.1111/j.1539-6924.2010.01567.x

Cite This Page:

University of Southern California. "Costs of 'dirty bomb' attack in Los Angeles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 April 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423131337.htm>.
University of Southern California. (2012, April 23). Costs of 'dirty bomb' attack in Los Angeles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423131337.htm
University of Southern California. "Costs of 'dirty bomb' attack in Los Angeles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/04/120423131337.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins