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Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

2005

Risk

Economics

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Equity Analysis And Natural Hazards Policy, Matthew D. Adler Nov 2005

Equity Analysis And Natural Hazards Policy, Matthew D. Adler

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

What is an “equitable” policy for mitigating the impacts of hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, and other natural hazards? Economists tend to see “equity” or “distribution” as irreducibly political and subjective. But, in truth, equity analysis and cost-benefit analysis are on a par. Both require a normative justification. Moreover, normative argument can help us structure equity analysis, just as it can cost-benefit analysis. This chapter, written for a forthcoming book on natural hazards policy after Katrina, argues that equity is a normative consideration distinct from efficiency or overall well-being. It then argues that equity is individualistic, not group-based; ex post, not ex ...