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Learning from Catastrophes: Strategies for Reaction and Response

By Howard Kunreuther, Michael Useem

Published by Pearson Prentice Hall

Published Date: Nov 16, 2009


Breakthrough Best Practices for Managing Extreme Risks—Both Natural and Man-Made 

  • How to prepare for risks ranging from financial crises and climate change to pandemics and terrorism
  • Indispensable information for leaders and strategists in business, the public sector, and nonprofit organizations alike
  • Draws on leading-edge research from The Wharton School and top risk management experts worldwide 

Hurricanes. Earthquakes. Pandemics. Global economic crises. Terrorism. Whether natural or man-made, massive catastrophes happen far more often than decision-makers once imagined. Organizations must prepare for these events—but how?


In Learning from Catastrophes, the world’s leading experts in extreme risk management present innovative approaches to mitigation, preparedness, and response. They show how to dramatically improve forecasting and communication about high-consequence risks, use economic incentives to improve resilience and sustainability, and proactively implement operational steps for rapid, effective response to disaster.


In today’s increasingly unstable, uncertain world, preparing for extreme risk has never been more urgent. Whether you’re a leader in the private, public, or nonprofit sector, this book presents the principles and strategies you’ll need.


Table of Contents

Foreword by Klaus Schwab     xiii

Preface by Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem     xv

Part I: Setting the Stage

Chapter 1: Principles and Challenges for Reducing Risks from Disasters     1

Howard Kunreuther and Michael Useem

Chapter 2: Acting in Time Against Disasters: A Comprehensive Risk Management Framework     18

Herman B. “Dutch” Leonard and Arnold M. Howitt

Part II: Linking Risk Assessment, Risk Perception, and Risk Management

Chapter 3: Forecasting and Communicating the Risk of Extreme Weather Events     41

Geoff Love and Michel Jarraud

Chapter 4: Cognitive Constraints and Behavioral Bias     64

Séan Cleary

Chapter 5: The Five Neglects: Risks Gone Amiss     83

Alan Berger, Case Brown, Carolyn Kousky, and Richard Zeckhauser

Chapter 6: Can Poor Countries Afford to Prepare for Low-Probability Risks?     100

Michele McNabb and Kristine Pearson

Chapter 7: The Role of Risk Regulation in Mitigating Natural Disasters     121

Bridget M. Hutter

Chapter 8: Hedging Against Tomorrow’s Catastrophes: Sustainable Financial Solutions to Help Protect Against Extreme Events     139

Erwann O. Michel-Kerjan

Part III: Applications to Catastrophic Risks

Chapter 9: A Financial Malignancy     156

Suzanne Nora Johnson

Chapter 10: Climate Change: Nature and Action     170

Thomas E. Lovejoy

Chapter 11: Lessons from Risk Analysis: Terrorism, Natural Disasters, and Technological Accidents     177

Detlof Von Winterfeldt

Chapter 12: Turning Danger to Opportunities: Reconstructing China’s National System for Emergency Management After 2003     190

Lan Xue and Kaibin Zhong

Chapter 13: Dealing with Pandemics: Global Security, Risk Analysis, and Science Policy     211

Jiah-Shin Teh and Harvey Rubin

Part  IV: Innovation and Leadership

Chapter 14: Long-Term Contracts for Reducing Losses from Future Catastrophes     235

Howard Kunreuther

Chapter 15: Developing Leadership to Avert and Mitigate Disasters     249

Michael Useem


Endnotes     269

About the Authors     307

World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Mitigation of Natural Disasters     313

Index     317

Purchase Info

ISBN-10: 0-13-264398-7

ISBN-13: 978-0-13-264398-6

Format: eBook (Watermarked)?

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