Adoption of Individual Flood Damage Mitigation Measures in New York City: An Extension of Protection Motivation Theory

W. J.Wouter Botzen*, Howard Kunreuther, Jeffrey Czajkowski, Hans de Moel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study offers insights into factors of influence on the implementation of flood damage mitigation measures by more than 1,000 homeowners who live in flood-prone areas in New York City. Our theoretical basis for explaining flood preparedness decisions is protection motivation theory, which we extend using a variety of other variables that can have an important influence on individual decision making under risk, such as risk attitudes, time preferences, social norms, trust, and local flood risk management policies. Our results in relation to our main hypothesis are as follows. Individuals who live in high flood risk zones take more flood-proofing measures in their home than individuals in low-risk zones, which suggests the former group has a high threat appraisal. With regard to coping appraisal variables, we find that a high response efficacy and a high self-efficacy play an important role in taking flood damage mitigation measures, while perceived response cost does not. In addition, a variety of behavioral characteristics influence individual decisions to flood-proof homes, such as risk attitudes, time preferences, and private values of being well prepared for flooding. Investments in elevating one's home are mainly influenced by building code regulations and are negatively related with expectations of receiving federal disaster relief. We discuss a variety of policy recommendations to improve individual flood preparedness decisions, including incentives for risk reduction through flood insurance, and communication campaigns focused on coping appraisals and informing people about flood risk they face over long time horizons.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2143-2159
Number of pages17
JournalRisk Analysis
Issue number10
Early online date1 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2019


  • Charity hazard
  • flood risk mitigation
  • protection motivation theory
  • risk aversion
  • time preferences


Dive into the research topics of 'Adoption of Individual Flood Damage Mitigation Measures in New York City: An Extension of Protection Motivation Theory'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this