Writer Invokes Storm Damage as a Good Thing

Matt Yglesias apparently skipped the whole broken windows fallacy in Econ 101


Do natural disasters hurt or help the economy? Hurricane Irene, which briefly terrorized the East Coast last summer before fizzling, spurred a series of articles speculating on the potential stimulative impact of a hurricane on a depressed economy. Hurricane Isaac, currently battering the Gulf Coast, doesn't seem to have had the same impact on economists.

Disaster economics is a subject worthy of more study. For starters, natural disasters really do seem to reduce unemployment. Hurricane Katrina led to a temporary surge in joblessness before reducing the unemployment in the New Orleans metropolitan area well below the national unemployment rate. Of course, it also killed almost 2,000 people and devastated a major American city.