The Ethical Content of the Economic Analysis of Disasters: Price Gouging and Post-Disaster Recovery
20 Pages Posted: 30 Jan 2017
Date Written: December 19, 2016
Economics, generally, is a discipline in which relatively little attention is devoted to language and terminology. As such, economists have not really attempted to define the concept of disasters very carefully, nor have they evaluated the ethics that are behind the economic analysis of disasters. Given this absence, we believe that a better understanding of the ways in which the discipline approaches the topic of disasters and its ethics is gained not by examining the multitude of definitions in the discipline, but by examining specific examples of topics that are contested within the economic literature on disasters and their ethical content. Outlining the main arguments and methodological approaches that economists use to think about these topics will, we hope, better clarify the general approach that economists use when embarking on disciplinary research on the topic of disasters. As such, we choose to focus on two topics: price gouging, and post-disaster economic recovery. The first, a topic that is explicitly ethically challenging from an economic perspective; the second, involves a lot of implicit ethical decisions that are almost never made explicit.
Keywords: ethics, disasters, price gouging, recovery
JEL Classification: Q540
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation