Measuring Cities’ Climate Adaptation


We construct new time-varying linguistic measures of city-level climate exposure and adaptation from cities’ budgets, annual reports, and bond prospectuses. We focus on flood risk, which enables us to construct a precise dictionary of exposure and adaptation keywords. We validate our measures by (1) showing increases in our textual measures after major climate events, and (2) showing that adaptation measures are associated with charges to capital and emergency funds. We find that climate-change adaptation is lower in cities that face capital constraints and for cities with Republican mayors. The second effect is muted in cities where residents report a higher concern for climate change. Additionally, municipal bond market lowers the climate risk premium when city-level adaptation is high.