NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

NBER Working Papers by Solomon M. Hsiang

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Working Papers

July 2014The Causal Effect of Environmental Catastrophe on Long-Run Economic Growth: Evidence From 6,700 Cyclones
with Amir S. Jina: w20352
Does the environment have a causal effect on economic development? Using meteorological data, we reconstruct every country's exposure to the universe of tropical cyclones during 1950-2008. We exploit random within-country year-to-year variation in cyclone strikes to identify the causal effect of environmental disasters on long-run growth. We compare each country's growth rate to itself in the years immediately before and after exposure, accounting for the distribution of cyclones in preceding years. The data reject hypotheses that disasters stimulate growth or that short-run losses disappear following migrations or transfers of wealth. Instead, we find robust evidence that national incomes decline, relative to their pre-disaster trend, and do not recover within twenty years. Both rich and...
May 2013Using Weather Data and Climate Model Output in Economic Analyses of Climate Change
with Maximilian Auffhammer, Wolfram Schlenker, Adam Sobel: w19087
Economists are increasingly using weather data and climate model output in analyses of the economic impacts of climate change. This article introduces weather data sets and climate models that are frequently used, discusses the most common mistakes economists make in using these products, and identifies ways to avoid these pitfalls. We first provide an introduction to weather data, including a summary of the types of datasets available, and then discuss five common pitfalls that empirical researchers should be aware of when using historical weather data as explanatory variables in econometric applications. We then provide a brief overview of climate models and discuss two common and significant errors often made by economists when climate model output is used to simulate the future impac...

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