This paper studies the economic costs of hurricanes in the Caribbean by constructing a novel dataset that combines a detailed record of tropical cyclones’ characteristics with reported damages. I estimate the relation between hurricane wind speeds and damages in the Caribbean; finding that the elasticity of damages to GDP ratio with respect to maximum wind speeds is three in the case of landfalls. The data show that hurricane damages are considerably underreported, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, with average damages potentially being three times as large as the reported average of 1.6 percent of GDP per year. I document and show that hurricanes that do not make landfall also have considerable negative impacts on the Caribbean economies. Finally, I estimate that the average annual hurricane damages in the Caribbean will increase between 22 and 77 percent by the year 2100, in a global warming scenario of high CO2 concentrations and high global temperatures.
Arnold McIntyre, Ahmed El-Ashram, Mr. Márcio Valério Ronci, Julien Reynaud, Ms. Natasha X Che, Ke Wang, Mr. Sebastian Acevedo Mejia, and Mr. Mark Scott Lutz
High energy costs contribute to dampening Caribbean competitiveness and potential growth. This paper overviews power sector challenges and takes stock of national and regional strategies to address them. It presents recommendations to move the energy agenda forward based on analyses of macro-aspects of energy reform. These include: i) quantitative assessment of the impact of energy costs on growth and competitiveness; ii) evaluation of gains from implementing announced renewable energy and energy efficiency targets; and iii) analysis of the impact of energy investments on debt sustainability. The paper argues for a bigger role for the private sector in energy reform and discusses prerequisites for good public-private partnerships.