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Planning for Natural Disasters in a Stochastic World

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journal contribution
posted on 01.11.1978, 00:00 authored by Lester B. Lave, Jay Apt
We examine the risks and management of natural disasters. A benefit-cost framework focuses attention on (1) designing control structures, such as dams and levees, and mitigation policies, such as construction standards, to protect lives and property against small and medium, rather than large sized natural disasters; and (2) warning and evacuation to save lives for large natural disasters. Providing information rather than command solutions generally enhances social benefits, if people understand the risks and bear the expected costs. Requiring actuarially fair insurance simultaneously provides information and has individuals bear the expected costs.