Alternatives to GDP - Measuring the Impact of Natural Disasters using Panel Data

A frequent criticism of GDP states that events that obviously reduce welfare of people can nevertheless increase GDP per capita. We use data of natural disasters as quasi experiments to examine whether alternatives to GDP (Human Development Index, Progress Index, Index of Economic Well-Being and a Happiness Index) lead to more plausible responses to disasters. Applying a Differences-in-Differences approach and estimates from various panels of countries we find no noteworthy differences between the response of real GDP per capita and the responses of suggested alternative welfare measures to a natural disaster except for the Human Development Index.

17. November 2016

Authors Jörg Döpke Philip Maschke

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