Comparing Covid-19 to Past Costly Disasters

Looking at the economic impact of past costly disasters can help us develop policies that target where and how Covid-19 will affect us.

The Problem With Predictable Surprises

Economists can explain and improve our inadequate disaster preparation for predictable wildfires, diseases, hurricanes, and earthquakes.

February 2019 Friday’s e-links: From Jeff Bezos to Hurricane Katrina and Lyndon Johnson

Friday’s e-links: Today we share a podcast series that focuses solely on Amazon–from its origin to current issues that range from drones to trust.

Triage Tradeoffs

As much as ethics and healthcare, the triage during emergencies like Katrina is about cost, benefit and economic tradeoffs.

The Upside of Price Gouging

During the Hurricane Katrina clean-up, a man from Kentucky loaded 19 generators onto his rented U-Haul. Driving 600 miles to an area of Mississippi with no power, he tried to sell them. His price was double what he had paid. A good idea?…

Opportunity Cost: Preparing for Sandy and Katrina

After every storm of the century, we ask why we didn’t prepare sufficiently. For Katrina it was better levee protection. And now, for Sandy, I just heard that the PATH–underground trains between NJ and NYC–had 4 foot flood gates (some…

A New Name for Price Gouging

Yesterday, a friend of mine waited on a gas line for 3 hours to fill his tank. The price was close to normal but the line was not. Hearing about gas lines, I remembered when Boston’s water supply was temporarily…

Looking Back at a Decision

Testifying in 1978, one public official said that economists, citing cost and benefit, recommended using a lower level of levee protection against hurricanes in Louisiana than he thought was necessary. (p. 90 of the Congressional Report on Hurricane Katrina) Similarly,…