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Economic impact of disasters is explored

Nov. 14, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A series of lectures looking at the economics of disasters, both natural and man-made, continues at Western Michigan University with a presentation on Wednesday, Nov. 19.

Dr. Hal Cochrane, a senior research scientist and fellow at the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University, will address "The Economics of Disaster: Retrospect and Prospect." His talk, at 3 p.m. in Room 3508 of Knauss Hall, is part of the 2008-09 Werner Sichel Lecture-Seminar Series and is free and open to the public.

Cochrane, who is working on new ways to value climate and weather information, has developed a way of rapidly assessing the regional economic consequences of disaster. He is best known for his work on the consequences of natural and man-made shocks to regional economies, and has published articles on the economics of disaster, global warming, the value of weather and climate information, and the economic consequences of limited nuclear war.

After earning a doctorate from the University of Colorado in 1975, Cochrane joined CSU's Department of Economics. He retired from the department in 2004, then accepted his current post at the institute, which conducts research in the atmospheric sciences that is of mutual benefit to CSU and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, state of Colorado, and nation.

Cochrane also directed CSU's Hazard Assessment Laboratory from 1993-2001, and has testified before Congress, served on numerous National Academy of Science panels and been affiliated with Resources for the Future. In addition, he has served as a consultant to NOAA as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency, United Nations, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Department of Homeland Security.

Now in its 45th year, the annual Sichel Series is organized by the WMU Department of Economics and named in honor of longtime WMU economics professor, Dr. Werner Sichel, who retired in 2004. The series is co-sponsored by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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