Austrian Contributions to the Literature on Natural and Unnatural Disasters

New Thinking in Austrian Political Economy (Advances in Austrian Economics Vol. 19), eds. Christopher J. Coyne and Virgil Henry Storr, Emerald, 2015.

19 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2016

See all articles by Virgil Henry Storr

Virgil Henry Storr

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center; University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom

Stefanie Haeffele-Balch

George Mason University

Date Written: 2015

Abstract

Austrian insights on the limits of central planning, the pervasiveness of knowledge problems, and the importance of the entrepreneur in coordinating social change have yielded substantive contributions to the literature on how individuals and communities respond to both natural and unnatural, or manmade, disasters. Austrian economists have examined the political economy of natural disasters, disaster relief and recovery efforts, the economic effects of extended wars, post-conflict societal reconstitution, and the effectiveness of humanitarian aid. This literature advances two main findings: (1) that centralized governments are likely to be ineffective at providing the goods and services that are necessary for community recovery and (2) that decentralized efforts are better suited to address the needs of society, to discover the best course of action for producing and distributing these goods and services, and to adapt to changing needs, circumstances, and technology. This paper examines the Austrian theories utilized to examine disasters, provides a summary of the recent research on both natural and unnatural disasters, and proposes areas for future research.

Keywords: Disasters; war; conflict; Austrian economics; knowledge problem; regime uncertainty

JEL Classification: B53, H84, Q54, N40, H56, D74, D71

Suggested Citation

Storr, Virgil Henry and Haeffele-Balch, Stefanie, Austrian Contributions to the Literature on Natural and Unnatural Disasters (2015). New Thinking in Austrian Political Economy (Advances in Austrian Economics Vol. 19), eds. Christopher J. Coyne and Virgil Henry Storr, Emerald, 2015.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2731839 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2731839

Virgil Henry Storr (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

HOME PAGE: http://virgilstorr.org/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://virgilstorr.org/

University of Arizona Center for the Philosophy of Freedom ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

HOME PAGE: http://virgilstorr.org/

Stefanie Haeffele-Balch

George Mason University ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
275
PlumX Metrics