Disaster Economics

My main focus is estimating the economic consequences of natural disasters and optimization of recovery efforts. This is accomplished by combining regional I-O models with urban models and analyzing the process at both short and long-run.

Several works have been funded by external agencies such as NASA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Main Research Interests:

  • Disaster Impact and Recovery
  • Negative Urban Growth
  • Integrated Modeling

Interconnected to:


  • The Challenge of Estimating the Impact of Disasters: many approaches, many limitations and a compromise
    Co-author: Geoffrey J. D. Hewings
    Funding: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    Publication: submitted as a chapter for the second edition of the book “Modeling Spatial and Economic Impacts of Disasters”

In this paper, the Generalized Dynamic Input-Output framework (GDIO) is presented and its theoretical basis derived. It encompasses the virtues of intertemporal dynamic models with the explicit intratemporal modeling of production and market clearing, thus allowing supply and demand constraints to be simultaneously analyzed. Final demand is endogenized via a demo-economic extension to study the impact of displacement and unemployment post-disaster. The key roles of inventories, expectation’s adjustment, primary inputs, labor force and physical assets in disaster assessment are explored and previous limitations in the literature are addressed.

  • Comparing the economic impact of natural disasters generated by different input-output models. An application to the 2007 Chehalis River Flood (WA)
    Co-author: Sandy Dall’erba
    Funding: NASA (NSPIRES NNX14AD77G) and USDA (Hatch grant 1006816)
    Publication: R&R in Risk Analysis

While measuring these stock damages is common practice in the literature, the assessment of the economic ripple effects due to business interruption is still limited and available estimates tend to vary significantly across models. This paper focuses on the most popular input-output models for disaster impact evaluation and gives the practitioner a thorough review of how future events can be assessed and guidance on model selection

In this work, we present an integrated modeling system to quantify the atmospheric-hydrologic-hydraulic and economic impacts of the December 2007 atmospheric river event that impacted the Chehalis river basin in western Washington State.

References on the Topic

  • Hirshleifer, J. (1987). Economic Behaviour in Adversity. University of Chicago Press.
  • Okuyama, Y., and Chang, S. (2004). Modeling Spatial and Economic Impacts of Disasters. Springer.
  • Olshansky, R.; Hopkins, L. and Johnson, L. (2012). Disaster and Recovery: Processes Compressed in Time. Natural Hazards Review, 13, 173-178.
  • Rubin, C. (2012). Emergency Management: The American Experience 1900-2010, Second Edition.  CRC Press.
  • Okuyama, Y., and Santos, J. R. (2014). Disaster impact and input-output analysis. Economic Systems Research, 26(1), 1-12.
  • Richardson, H., Park, J., Moore II, J., and Pan, Q. (2015). National Economic Impact Analysis of Terrorist Attacks and Natural Disasters. Edward Elgar Pub.