Understanding the Economic Costs and Benefits of Catastrophes and Their Aftermath: A Review and Suggestions for the U.S. Federal Government


*Address correspondence to Michael R. Greenberg, Rutgers University, Edward J. Bloustein School, 33 Livingston Ave., Suite 100, New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1958, USA; tel: 732-932-4101, ext: 673; fax: 732-932-0934; mrg@rci.rutgers.edu.


The number and magnitude of devastating natural and human events make it imperative that we actively and systematically estimate the costs and benefits of policy decisions in affected localities, regions, states, and nations. Such strategic risk management preparedness efforts should forecast well into the future and include scenarios with and without enhanced engineered structures; with reduced vulnerability through land-use planning and design; with the impact of resiliency and mitigation; with evacuation and relocation; and with the costs and benefits of recovery and restoration. We describe different kinds of regional economic models that can be used in these preparedness planning efforts, explore critical data needs, and advocate a shared federal-state-local strategic planning effort to accomplish the objective.