This paper studies the economic costs of hurricanes in the Caribbean by constructing a
novel dataset that combines a detailed record of tropical cyclones’ characteristics with
reported damages. I estimate the relation between hurricane wind speeds and damages in
the Caribbean; finding that the elasticity of damages to GDP ratio with respect to
maximum wind speeds is three in the case of landfalls. The data show that hurricane
damages are considerably underreported, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, with
average damages potentially being three times as large as the reported average of 1.6
percent of GDP per year. I document and show that hurricanes that do not make landfall
also have considerable negative impacts on the Caribbean economies. Finally, I estimate
that the average annual hurricane damages in the Caribbean will increase between 22 and
77 percent by the year 2100, in a global warming scenario of high CO2 concentrations and
high global temperatures.
Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, Lu Han, Miss Marie S Kim, and Ms. Nicole Laframboise
This paper studies the role of airlift supply on the tourism sector in the Caribbean. The
paper examines the relative importance of U.S.-Caribbean airlift supply factors such as the
number of flights, seats, airlines, and departure cities on U.S. tourist arrivals. The possible
endogeneity problem between airlift supply and tourist arrivals is addressed by using a
structural panel VAR and individual country VARs. Among the four airlift supply
measures, increasing the number of flights is found to be the most effective way to boost
tourist arrivals on a sustained basis. As a case study, the possible crowding effect of
increasing the number of U.S. flights to Cuba is investigated and, based on past
observations, we find no significant impact on flights to other Caribbean countries. The
impact of natural disasters on airlift supply and tourist arrivals is also quantified.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This chapter presents the point of view and ideas of Sabina Alkire, an economist. Alkire wants the Multidimensional Poverty Index to be part of a data revolution to guide the fight against poverty. According to Alkire, learning to meditate soothed away what she describes as the temper tantrums of her childhood. The chapter also highlights the fact that an index is only as good as its underlying data, and in emerging market economies that quality is often inadequate. The quest for better poverty metrics coincides with growing doubts about the ability of conventional statistics, especially GDP, to gauge economic growth in the digital economy, let alone well-being, welfare, and environmental sustainability.