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Economic impact of disasters subject of talk

Feb. 18, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A series of lectures looking at the economics of disasters, both natural and man-made, continues with a presentation on Wednesday, Feb. 25, on the Western Michigan University campus.

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's presentation was to have been in November, but had to be rescheduled.

Cochrane earned a doctoral degree from the University of Colorado in 1975, at which point he joined the Department of Economics at Colorado State. He retired from the department in 2004 and accepted the position of senior research scientist with the institute, which conducts research in the atmospheric sciences of mutual benefit to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the university, the state of Colorado and the nation.

Cochrane began his career as a research economist at the University of Colorado's Institute of Behavioral Science, where he was much influenced by institute researchers Drs. Gilbert White, Chuck Howe and Kenneth Boulding.

Cochrane 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. He is best known for his work on the consequences of natural and man-made shocks to regional economies.

Cochrane was formerly director of Colorado State's Hazard Assessment Laboratory from 1993-2001. He has also been affiliated with Resources for the Future and has served as a consultant to NOAA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United Nations, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of Homeland Security. He has also served on a number of National Academy of Science panels and testified before Congress.

He currently is working on new ways to value climate and weather information and has developed a way of rapidly assessing the regional economic consequences of disaster.

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 cosponsored by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

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

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