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The Value of Weather Information Services for Nineteenth-Century Great Lakes Shipping


  • Craft, Erik D


The U.S. government established a national weather organization in 1870. Changes in Great Lakes cargo and hull losses, and shipping rates from Chicago to Buffalo, provide evidence of the value of storm warnings on the Great Lakes. Nearly half of the Great Lakes storm-warning stations were closed during the fall of 1883 because of appropriations reductions. This exogenous shock permits the econometric estimation of the value of storm-warning locations on the Great Lakes. The results indicate that the social rate of return for weather expenditures during the Weather Bureau's founding period was at least 60 percent. Copyright 1998 by American Economic Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Craft, Erik D, 1998. "The Value of Weather Information Services for Nineteenth-Century Great Lakes Shipping," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(5), pages 1059-1076, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:88:y:1998:i:5:p:1059-76

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    Cited by:

    1. Decker, Christopher & Flynn, David, 2009. "The impact of military forts on agricultural investments on the Great Plains in 1880," MPRA Paper 19556, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. L. Zirulia, 2015. "“Should I stay or should I go?”: Weather forecasts and the economics of “short breaks”," Working Papers wp1034, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.

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