How to Calculate the Cost of a Disaster

To determine the disaster cost of weather and climate events, the U.S. government has to decide what to include and how to assess the value.

Can an Earthquake Be Good for the Economy?

19th century economic writer Frederic Bastiat warned that a disaster spending GDP boost is misleading because of unseen sacrificed economic activity.

Storm Warnings

Some thoughts today about predicting natural disasters. Weeks before 308 people perished in L’Aquila from an earthquake, a government commission proclaimed the chance was slim that a disaster would occur. It did happen and now, the 6 scientists and single…

Averting Disasters

Disaster spending is setting records this year. At 81, the number of tornadoes, earthquakes, snowstorms, hurricanes and wild fires is equal to the total for all of 2010 and more than each of the previous 3 years. Disaster spending almost…

Replacing Broken Windows

During a CNBC interview, former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers said that Japan’s massive earthquake “…may lead to some temporary increments, ironically, to GDP, as a process of rebuilding takes place.” Commenting on the interview, the WSJ reminds us that 19th…