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New role to address economics of disasters


New role to address economics of disasters

A Chair in the Economics of Disasters which has been established at Victoria University will provide new knowledge to guide New Zealand in the aftermath of disasters like the Canterbury earthquakes.

The Chair, believed to be a world first, will be focused on economic policy and disaster management and is the result of a partnership between Victoria University, the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI). Professor Ilan Noy from Victoria’s School of Economics and Finance has been appointed to the new role.

Professor Noy’s research will investigate economic aspects of the management of natural and other disasters.

Although there are centres of research and policy development concentrating on disasters in New Zealand, none have an economic focus.

“The establishment of this Chair is another important step by the Victoria Business School as it increases engagement and partnerships with our stakeholders to improve knowledge and capability in strategically important areas,” says Professor Bob Buckle, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Commerce at Victoria Business School.

“I am delighted that MPI and EQC have joined with us to support a new Chair that concentrates on understanding the economic consequences of natural and other types of disasters, and on policy options to mitigate their consequences.

“Our limits were tested in the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquakes, and we continue to be challenged, for example, by the continuous border risks to the horticultural industry. Understanding the economic consequences of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, droughts, floods, viruses and bio-security risks helps inform private and public policy decisions around investment in mitigation, preparation and response processes. The aim of this Chair is to help inform decision making on these questions and thereby try to reduce the social and economic costs of disasters.”

Originally from Israel, Professor Noy came to Victoria in 2011 from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, where he was an Associate Professor in Economics. His research and teaching interests include the economics of disasters, international finance and development economics.

“We need to develop evidence-based solutions to deal with the long-term aftermath of the Canterbury quakes, and to be better prepared for the next disaster heading our way; be it another earthquake, a drought or a virus,” says Professor Noy.

“Many countries are struggling to frame coherent prevention, mitigation and reconstruction policy in the wake of disasters, and I hope to be able to assist in this effort.”

Both central and local government were widely consulted during the development of the role.

Over the last few years, Victoria Business School has established a number of Chairs involving partnership with the public and private sectors through the Victoria University Foundation. These include the Chair in Public Finance and the Chair in e-Government.

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