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The Economic and Policy Consequences of Catastrophes

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  • Robert S. Pindyck
  • Neng Wang

Abstract

How likely is a catastrophic event that would substantially reduce the capital stock, GDP, and wealth? How much should society be willing to pay to reduce the probability or impact of a catastrophe? We answer these questions and provide a framework for policy analysis using a general equilibrium model of production, capital accumulation, and household preferences. Calibrating the model to economic and financial data, we estimate the mean arrival rate of shocks and their size distribution, the tax on consumption society would accept to limit the maximum size of a catastrophic shock, and the cost to insure against its impact.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 306-39

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:4:p:306-39

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.4.306
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References

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  1. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2000. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Xavier Gabaix, 2012. "Variable Rare Disasters: An Exactly Solved Framework for Ten Puzzles in Macro-Finance," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 645-700.
  4. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "Subjective Expectations and Asset-Return Puzzles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1102-1130, September.
  5. Francois Gourio, 2008. "Disasters and Recoveries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 68-73, May.
  6. Jessica A. Wachter, 2013. "Can Time-Varying Risk of Rare Disasters Explain Aggregate Stock Market Volatility?," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 68(3), pages 987-1035, 06.
  7. Robert E. Hall, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," NBER Working Papers 0720, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Fatih Guvenen, 2005. "Reconciling Conflicting Evidence on the Elasticity of Intertemporal Substitution: A Macroeconomic Perspective," Macroeconomics 0507005, EconWPA.
  9. Robert E. Hall, 2009. "Reconciling Cyclical Movements in the Marginal Value of Time and the Marginal Product of Labor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 117(2), pages 281-323, 04.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Robert S. Pindyck, 2010. "Fat Tails, Thin Tails, and Climate Change Policy," Working Papers 1012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research.
  2. Cerqueti, Roy & Coppier, Raffaella, 2011. "Economic growth, corruption and tax evasion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 489-500.
  3. Matthew A. COLE & Robert J R ELLIOTT & OKUBO Toshihiro & Eric STROBL, 2013. "Natural Disasters and Plant Survival: The impact of the Kobe earthquake," Discussion papers 13063, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
  4. Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2009. "The Economics of Natural Disasters - A Survey," Working Papers 200919, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.

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