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The Robustness of Economic Activity to Destructive Events

Listed author(s):
  • John Galbraith

While the efficiency of economic arrangements is the primary focus of economic research, we may ask whether the efficiency improvements that have been experienced in the developed economies have been accompanied by increased vulnerability of output to catastrophic events. In order to address this question usefully, we need some implementable measures of vulnerability of output to disruptive events or large shocks. This study attempts to provide some rudimentary measures of this potential increased vulnerability in economic systems. To do so we draw on concepts from information theory, robust system design and, indirectly, robust statistics to define a measure of the robustness of production, and apply the measure to some cases of interest. L'efficacité des accords économiques constitue le centre d'intérêt de la recherche en économie, mais on peut se demander si les améliorations observées en matière d'efficacité au sein des économies développées ont été accompagnées d'une vulnérabilité accrue de la production aux événements catastrophiques. Pour répondre à cette question de façon utile, nous avons besoin d'outils pouvant être mis en uvre dans le but de mesurer la vulnérabilité de la production aux perturbations ou aux bouleversements. La présente étude tente de mettre en place des mesures rudimentaires de cette vulnérabilité potentielle accrue au sein des systèmes économiques. Pour ce faire, nous nous appuyons sur les concepts issus de la théorie de l'information, sur la conception rigoureuse de systèmes et, indirectement, sur des statistiques robustes pour mesurer la vigueur de la production et pour appliquer cette mesure à certains cas intéressants.

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Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2009s-22.

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Length: 17 pages
Date of creation: 01 May 2009
Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2009s-22
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