What Can Economics Tell Us About Deadly Earthquakes?

This past weekend Nepal experienced a massive earthquake centered about 50 miles from Nepal’s capital Katmandu. The Nepal earthquake was rated as 7.8 on the Richter scale, which was created in 1935 by Charles Richter at the California Institute of Technology. Each whole number increase means a 10 times increase in the seismograph that is measuring the ground’s movement. Each time the rating goes up by a whole number, such as from 6.0 to 7.0 thirty-one times more energy is released. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake destroyed many historic temples in Kathmandu and killed thousands of people. Continue reading

Will the Napa Earthquake Really Result in Wineries Losing Millions of Dollars of Sales?

Two weeks ago a 6.0 earthquake hit Napa Valley, the California region famous for making red wine.  On Saturday morning the Wall Street Journal published an article stating “About 120 wineries in Napa Valley suffered an estimated $50 million in damage from the magnitude 6.0 earthquake.”  This $50 million figure is wrong. Continue reading