Speaker: Amir Jina is a Postdoctoral Scholar in the Economics Department at the University of Chicago. More »
Abstract: Does the environment have a causal effect on economic development? Reconstructing every country's exposure to the universe of tropical cyclones during 1950-2008, we reject hypotheses that disasters stimulate growth or that incomes rebound. Instead, we find incomes decline, relative to their pre-disaster trend, and do not recover within twenty years. A 90th percentile event reduces incomes 7.4%, undoing 3.7 years of average growth. This effect has dramatic influence over the development of countries that are endowed with regular exposure to disaster. Applying future cyclone projections, we estimate the discounted cost of climate change is $9.7 trillion larger than previously thought.
Last Updated: Apr 21, 2015