NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Managing Catastrophic Risk

Howard Kunreuther, Geoffrey Heal

NBER Working Paper No. 18136
Issued in June 2012
NBER Program(s):   EEE

A principal reason that losses from catastrophic risks have been increasing over time is that more individuals and firms are locating in harm's way while not taking appropriate protective measures. Several behavioural biases lead decision-makers not to invest in adaptation measures until after it is too late. In an interdependent world with no intervention by the public sector, it may be economically rational for those at risk not to invest in protective measures. Risk management strategies that involve private-public partnerships that address these issues may help in reducing future catastrophic losses. These may include multi-year insurance contracts, well-enforced regulations, third-party inspections, and alternative risk transfer instruments such as catastrophe bonds.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w18136

Published: "Managing Catastrophic Risk" (with Geoffrey Heal). Encyclopedia of Energy, Natural Resources and Environmental Economics (ed.) J. Shogren, Elsevier, Vol. 3, pp 52-59 2013.

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