•We analyze economic efficiency of public adaptation (PA) investments in cities.•We apply a spatial urban general equilibrium framework.•Optimal PA to adverse events derogating land quality only reduces a small fraction of the welfare loss of non-adaptation.•Full adaptation could become an efficient policy option if PA were highly productive.•Distributional effects suggest that cities might have an incentive to overinvest in PA.
Land Use Policy – Elsevier
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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