The key question is how much utility does this household lose when Mother Nature nudges it to make a new locational choice? The NY Times implicitly says that these people are passive victims who will greatly suffer. I doubt this, the U.S has many nice places to move to that will allow these individuals to recreate their lives. The young child on the NY Times front cover
may have a better live in the new area she moves to. A good economic study would follow these individuals over time and study their economic well being and survey them to learn about their subjective well being to see if they "truly suffer" from moving away from this area. In the Wizard of Oz, Dorthy says "there is no place like home". But, in this Internet age featuring cheap airfare for travel, one can keep in touch with old friends from the original community and still re-optimize one's lifestyle. The NY Times ignores this as it wants to argue that those who don't live in Manhattan are passive victims of emerging threats. This defies all of the logic of econ 101. Adaptation through migration isn''t costless but it may not be very costly at all --- especially for young people.
- The logic of econ 101 says that people will move when the benefits exceed the costs of moving. Revealed preference tells us that when people don't move it is because the benefits are less than the costs. If people require a lot of money to be willing to move then we must revise our notion about how we measure those costs. I agree that there should be more migration in the U.S. (e.g., out of coal counties in Kentucky) but am baffled by why this does not happen and regularly as I think it should. The only way that I can reconcile my theory and empirics with the behavior I observe is to reassess my empirics. In other words, the costs of moving are greater than the money costs that I am able to objectively measure.
- Taking a look at that little girl and the house that she lives in ... I don't see her and her family jetting around the country to visit relatives after they've been relocated to someplace that isn't sinking into the Gulf of Mexico.