The UK is rightly transfixed with the unfolding story of the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington, London, which at the time of writing had led to 30 confirmed deaths. This follows – as the Queen pointed out in her birthday message – terrorist attacks on Westminster and London Bridges, and in Manchester.
‘Disaster economics’ seems like an inappropriately technocratic topic at a time like this. But disasters often have their root in the inherent challenges of disaster economics [or rather disaster economics and statistics]. And failing to rise to them can lead to more disasters than is necessary.
One of the main challenges is figuring out the frequency of disaster-events of different severity, when such things are relatively rare. In small samples of a few years, you will have many observations of rainfall around the most common quantity, but you will have very few – perhaps even no…
View original post 1,412 more words