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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

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 15373.

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Date of creation: Sep 2009
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Publication status: forthcoming at the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15373

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  1. Hall, Robert E, 1988. "Intertemporal Substitution in Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(2), pages 339-57, April.
  2. Jessica Wachter, 2008. "Can Time-Varying Risk of Rare Disasters Explain Aggregate Stock Market Volatility?," NBER Working Papers 14386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Xavier Gabaix, 2008. "Variable Rare Disasters: An Exactly Solved Framework for Ten Puzzles in Macro-Finance," NBER Working Papers 13724, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Guvenen, Fatih, 2006. "Reconciling conflicting evidence on the elasticity of intertemporal substitution: A macroeconomic perspective," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(7), pages 1451-1472, October.
  5. Francois Gourio, 2008. "Disasters and Recoveries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(2), pages 68-73, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Barro, Robert, 2006. "Rare Disasters and Asset Markets in the Twentieth Century," Scholarly Articles 3208215, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Ravi Bansal & Amir Yaron, 2004. "Risks for the Long Run: A Potential Resolution of Asset Pricing Puzzles," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 59(4), pages 1481-1509, 08.
  9. Martin L. Weitzman, 2007. "Subjective Expectations and Asset-Return Puzzles," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1102-1130, September.
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Cited by:
  1. Cerqueti, Roy & Coppier, Raffaella, 2011. "Economic growth, corruption and tax evasion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 489-500.
  2. Robert S. Pindyck, 2013. "The Climate Policy Dilemma," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 7(2), pages 219-237, July.
  3. Marc Fleurbaey & Stéphane Zuber, 2014. "Fair management of social risk," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00973480, HAL.
  4. Devin Bunten & Matthew E. Kahn, 2014. "The Impact of Emerging Climate Risks on Urban Real Estate Price Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 20018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Robert S. Pindyck, 2010. "Fat Tails, Thin Tails, and Climate Change Policy," NBER Working Papers 16353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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).
  7. Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2009. "The Economics of Natural Disasters - A Survey," Working Papers 200919, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  8. Elizabeth Kopits & Alex L. Marten & Ann Wolverton, 2013. "Moving Forward with Incorporating "Catastrophic" Climate Change into Policy Analysis," NCEE Working Paper Series 201301, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised Jan 2013.
  9. Edilio Valentini & Paolo Vitale, 2014. "Optimal Climate Policy for a Pessimistic Social Planner," Working Papers 2014.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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