Working Paper

Preventing Controversial Catastrophes

Abstract: In a market-based democracy, we model different constituencies that disagree regarding the likelihood of economic disasters. Costly public policy initiatives to reduce or eliminate disasters are assessed relative to private alternatives presented by financial markets. Demand for such public policies falls as much as 40% with disagreement, and crowding out by private insurance drives most of the reduction. As support for disaster-reducing policy jumps in periods of disasters, costly policies may be adopted only after disasters occur. In some scenarios constituencies may even demand policies oriented to increase disaster risk if these policies introduce speculative opportunities.

Keywords: Crowding out; Disaster risk; Willingness to pay; Government policy; Disagreement;

JEL Classification: H21; G18; H23; G01;

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Bibliographic Information

Provider: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.)

Part of Series: Finance and Economics Discussion Series

Publication Date: 2018-07-19

Number: 2018-052

Pages: 88 pages