The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks

The Economic Impacts of Terrorist Attacks

Edited by Harry W. Richardson, Peter Gordon and James E. Moore II

Focussing on the economics of terrorism in the post 9/11 world, this book brings together original research based on the collaborative efforts of leading economists and planners. The authoritative and expert contributors use a variety of methodological approaches and apply them to different types of terrorist attacks (on airports, highways, seaports, electric power infrastructure, for example).

Chapter 14: The Economic Impact of a Terrorist Attack on the Twin Ports of Los Angeles–Long Beach

Peter Gordon, James E. Moore II, Harry W. Richardson and Qisheng Pan

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, transport, environment, disasters, transport, politics and public policy, terrorism and security, urban and regional studies, transport


Peter Gordon, James E. Moore II, Harry W. Richardson and Qisheng Pan INTRODUCTION The Los Angeles metropolitan region is (because of its size, visibility and diversity) a prime target for a terrorist attack. There are many specific targets: the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), downtown high rises (with the highest skyscraper – the US Bank Tower1 – west of the Mississippi), its theme parks (for example Disneyland, Universal Studios), its freeways (some of the interchanges have the highest traffic densities in the United States), and its ports, among many. We have developed a spatially disaggregated economic impact model that can evaluate all of these and any other plausible attacks. As a representative example, in this research we consider moderate radiological bomb (so-called ‘dirty bomb’) attacks at the twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Because these two ports handle almost half of the United States seaborne international trade, any disruption of their trade is likely to have major economic impacts. However this kind of attack is not the most dangerous imaginable, because it would involve minimal destruction of infrastructure. Many of its impacts would be more psychological, and much would depend on the length of time before the authorities thought it safe to reopen the ports. Accordingly our scenarios also include simultaneous attacks on freeway access to the ports that would magnify the adverse economic impacts. These would not only delay the emergency response but would also stretch out the disruption period because it would take a longer time...

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