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The Economics of Natural and Unnatural Disasters

William Kern, Editor

Publication Year: 2010

The contributors cover a wide range of costly events and delve into the human and economic impacts disasters impose on populations worldwide.

Published by: W.E. Upjohn Institute

Title page

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pp. iii

Copyright page

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pp. iv


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pp. v

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1 - Introduction

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pp. 1-8

Throughout history mankind has been subject to disasters produced by “Mother Nature” as well as the man-made variety. Only recently, however, have economists understood disasters as economic phenomena to be formally analyzed. Given the magnitude of many recent disasters, their impact on local, regional, ...

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2 - Market and Government Failure in Insuring and Mitigating Natural Catastrophes: How Long-Term Contracts Can Help

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pp. 9-38

Given the hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses due to catastrophes in the United States since 2001, it is difficult to realize that when Hurricane Hugo hit the country in 1989, it was the first catastrophe to inflict more than $1 billion in insured losses. But times have changed because of a series of ...

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3 - Expectations and Unexpected Consequences of Public Policy toward Natural and Man-Made Disasters

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pp. 39-64

For the purposes of this chapter, I define disasters very generally as large, sudden, infrequent occurrences that are difficult to forecast and that result in significant economic loss in the form of output, income, property, and life. Particular attention is given to disasters that are geographically concentrated ...

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4 - The Economics of Disaster: Restrospect and Prospect

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pp. 65-86

In preparing this chapter, I initially wrote that the economics of hazards and disaster is a subfield of environmental economics. Upon reflection, I crossed that out, replacing it with “the economics of hazards is a subfield of no less than five major fields, including behavioral economics, finance, regional economics, ...

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5 - Private Solutions to Public Disasters: Self-Reliance and Social Resilience

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pp. 87-102

It is often in the aftermath of the worst calamities of nature and war that the power of human ingenuity and resilience is most clearly demonstrated. John Stuart Mill, writing in 1848, noted that observers were frequently amazed at the rapidity with which inhabitants of a devastated area were able to recover...

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6 - The Socioeconomic Impact of Tornadoes

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pp. 103-132

Tornadoes are nature’s most powerful and destructive storms, capable of producing winds in excess of 300 miles per hour, yet they are notoriously capricious, leveling one home and leaving the next undamaged. The United States experiences more than 1,200 tornadoes per year, and since 1900 over 15,000 lives have been lost in tornadoes…

The Authors

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pp. 133-134


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pp. 135-142

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About the Institute

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pp. 143-144

The W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research is a nonprofit research organization devoted to finding and promoting solutions to employment-related problems at the national, state, and local levels. It is an activity of the W.E. Upjohn Unemployment Trustee Corporation, which was established in 1932 to administer a fund ...

E-ISBN-13: 9780880994286
E-ISBN-10: 0880994282
Print-ISBN-13: 9780880993623
Print-ISBN-10: 0880993626

Page Count: 143
Publication Year: 2010

Edition: First