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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert S. Pindyck & Neng Wang, 2009. "The Economic and Policy Consequences of Catastrophes," NBER Working Papers 15373, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15373 Note: EEE EFG PE
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    Cited by:

    1. Cerqueti, Roy & Coppier, Raffaella, 2011. "Economic growth, corruption and tax evasion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 28(1-2), pages 489-500, January.
    2. Xu, Shaofeng, 2017. "Volatility risk and economic welfare," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 80(C), pages 17-33.
    3. 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.
    4. Eduardo Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2009. "The Economics of Natural Disasters: A Survey," Research Department Publications 4649, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    5. Ian W. R. Martin & Robert S. Pindyck, 2015. "Averting Catastrophes: The Strange Economics of Scylla and Charybdis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(10), pages 2947-2985, October.
    6. Quaas, Martin F. & Bröcker, Johannes, 2016. "Substitutability and the social cost of carbon in a solvable growth model with irreversible climate change," Economics Working Papers 2016-09, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Department of Economics.
    7. Victoria Y. Fan & Dean T. Jamison & Lawrence H. Summers, 2016. "The Inclusive Cost of Pandemic Influenza Risk," NBER Working Papers 22137, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Yongyang Cai & Kenneth L. Judd & Thomas S. Lontzek, 2015. "The Social Cost of Carbon with Economic and Climate Risks," Papers 1504.06909, arXiv.org, revised Apr 2015.
    9. Xu, Shaofeng, 2016. "On the welfare cost of rare housing disasters," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 301-318.
    10. Baker, Steven D. & Hollifield, Burton & Osambela, Emilio, 2016. "Disagreement, speculation, and aggregate investment," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 119(1), pages 210-225.
    11. Fleurbaey, Marc & Zuber, Stéphane, 2017. "Fair management of social risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 169(C), pages 666-706.
    12. Lucas Bretschger & Alexandra Vinogradova, 2014. "Going beyond tradition:Growth and Mitigation Policies with Uncertain Climate Damage," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 14/202, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    13. Robert S. Pindyck, 2014. "Risk and Return in the Design of Environmental Policy," Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(3), pages 395-418.
    14. Edilio Valentini & Paolo Vitale, 2014. "Optimal Climate Policy for a Pessimistic Social Planner," Working Papers 2014.33, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    15. Lucas Bretschger & Alexandra Vinogradova, 2014. "Growth and Mitigation Policies with Uncertain Climate Damage," CESifo Working Paper Series 5085, CESifo Group Munich.
    16. Robert S. Pindyck, 2011. "Fat Tails, Thin Tails, and Climate Change Policy," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 5(2), pages 258-274, Summer.
    17. 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).
    18. Matthew A. COLE & Robert J R ELLIOTT & OKUBO Toshihiro & Eric STROBL, 2015. "Natural Disasters, Industrial Clusters and Manufacturing Plant Survival," Discussion papers 15008, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    19. 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.
    20. Liu, Bo & Lu, Lei & Mu, Congming & Yang, Jinqiang, 2016. "Time-inconsistent preferences, investment and asset pricing," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 48-52.
    21. Christoph M. Rheinberger & Nicolas Treich, 2017. "Attitudes Toward Catastrophe," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 67(3), pages 609-636, July.
    22. Bretschger, Lucas, 2015. "Greening Economy, Graying Society," MPRA Paper 66218, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Cai, Yongyang & Brock, William & Xepapadeas, Anastasios, 2016. "Climate Change Economics and Heat Transport across the Globe: Spatial-DSICE," 2017 Allied Social Science Association (ASSA) Annual Meeting, January 6-8, 2017, Chicago, Illinois 251833, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    24. 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.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E20 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - General (includes Measurement and Data)
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • H56 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - National Security and War

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