5,330,000 people living in Germany in 2015 were born in other EU countries
Summer tax check missions kept top secret
Guarantees a sticking point before Cyprus summit
Not a single fast-track project is fully up and running yet
Still no economic evidence that immigrants are stealing from Americans paychecks
Talks with Northern Irelands DUP on UK government support progressing well - Patel
RBS to cut 443 jobs in UK, move many of them to India
Bill Clinton delivers grave warning on opioid crisis: It’s going to eat us all alive
Trumps attend Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchins wedding, officiated by Mike Pence
Fine wine is ready to party
House Democrats outraise Republicans for the first time in 2017
Barry Gibb brings Bee Gees disco fever to Glastos legends slot
Champagne challenge: @JancisRobinson on a fight with fizz | @JancisRobinson
Rep. Schiff agrees with Trump: Obama should have acted on hacks
Supreme Court gives Washington NFL team a big win in battle over ‘Redskins’ trademark
Key paras for judgements around Intesa deal
Why the minimum wage is bad for the poor.
US urges Qatar and Saudi-led group to lower rhetoric
Big Data needs Data Science but Data Science doesnt need Big Data #bigdata #datascience
June 25, 1903 - Marie Curie defends her doctoral thesis, then gets Nobel Prize five months later.
This is how a baby gorilla baby human react to a cold stethoscope.
Millions of Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr #EidMubarak
Can the Philippine army recapture Marawi?
How to Make Your Own Natural Liquid Hand Soap #DIY #ZeroWaste
Are ‘avenging’ elephants in China deliberately targeting humans?
People addicted to opioids are nine times more likely to have hepatitis C
Buffett bullish on Canada but not as much on its housing: Globe
10 houses from Dezeens Pinterest boards that offer ideas for outdoor dining:
People are getting rich slinging overpriced Ethereum rigs on Craigslist
The future of the Air Force is fighter pilots leading drone swarms into battle
WATCH: Schumer dances to Diana Ross at New York party
Elected officials attending Koch summit in Colorado Springs this weekend:
Foo Fighters give Glastonbury tribute to fan who died of cancer after social media campaign
Civilians flee final battle for Mosul
Creating a Smart, Resilient Water Future
GOP senator: US should push for regime change in Iran
Seven die in cable car crash in Kashmir, 150 rescued
Ready to reboot your diet? We did all the work to choose your healthy food apps for you
These five whiskeys will make you forget about Pappy
Schaeuble says hes open to German parliament discussing Greek deal
Time May Be Nearing For #ECB Stimulus Exit: Weidmann | @Reuters |
Albanians vote in test for democracy, EU membership
Federer demolishes Zverev to win ninth Halle title
The CIA is in secret talks with Oman, Obamas favorite Arab back channel
Is the best sport coupe a Porsche, Jaguar, or Mercedes?
How are British companies coping with Brexit? Were following four CEOs through the process
Still no economic evidence that immigrants are stealing from Americans paychecks
Senator Rand Paul says would consider partial repeal of Obamacare
Civilians rescued as #Iraqi forces push into Old #Mosul
Ambassador who resigned over Paris deal exit: Trump is threatening US global leadership
How a $455 million specialty pill is like paying too much for your Goober: #WastedMedicine
Manhattan prosecutor: Im sure ISIS supports GOP concealed carry bill
Trumps Carrier deal is not living up to the hype — jobs still going to Mexico via @CNBC
Top Trump economic adviser: ‘Coal doesn’t even make that much sense anymore’
Lifetime is betting big on professional women’s soccer
Eddie Izzard takes part in first Run for Jo event in memory of murdered MP Jo Cox
The GOP is running its anti-abortion playbook against voting rights — and it’s working
Adults and kids agree that Blockitecture is the coolest.
Chinese Authorities Target Major Overseas Acquirers
Charity football match played in memory of Manchester Terror Attack victim Kelly Brewster
Have had worse views at dinner if Im honest.
TSA considers forcing airline passengers to remove books from carry-ons
India: Price inflation slows as de-monetisation effect starts to wear off. #SMI
Fractivists Use Pennsylvania Supreme Court As Weapon
Overcapacity and the price of oil by Dr. Daniel Fine
The next recession will probably start much like the last one
Dem lawmaker: If America was Rome, Pelosi would be Julius Caesar
Finally at #money2020! Let the #FinTech-ing begin! Where is everyone else? Cc @JuliaFuredi @devie_mohan
Le bulletin Popescu - Le chaos aux Etats Unis est positive pour l’or et l’euro
@psb_dc Insurance giant Aviva ready to splash the cash on AI to remain on top
Ten ways to get a good return on your cash without getting near the stock market
Istanbul police enforce ban on gay, transgender pride march
Casey Hughes Architects adds twin-peaked extension to refurbished LA home:
We Should be Glad the US is Out- Paris Climate Treaty
Money Talks
Turkeys Erdogan says Arab demands on Qatar unlawful via @Reuters
Supreme Court to rule on key religious rights case
Trump breaks with tradition, wont hold Ramadan dinner
Woman suffers life-changing injuries after acid attack on her 21st birthday
Democrats ready a ‘bold’ economic plan in a bid to end their losing streak
very specific graffiti
Still missing: evidence of Trump-Russia collusion
Health insurers concerned by dramatic Medicaid cuts in Senate GOP bill
Malan leads England to series win over South Africa
How Dropbox bounced back
Irans President Hassan Rouhani condemns siege of Qatar via @AJENews
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemns unacceptable siege of Qatar
Watch a Navy robot submarine launch a drone
Xi is no stranger to Hong Kong from two decades of frequent visits
Mega foreclosure reaches NYC Billionaires Row via @business
FX Daily, June 21: Heavy Oil Weighs on Yields and Lifts Yen #FXTrends
Saudi-Led Demands ‘Difficult’ for Qatar to Meet, Tillerson Says via @bpolitics
Clashes as Turkey bans Gay Pride in Istanbul
Spicer: Reporters only want on-camera briefings to boost their reputations
Istanbul police enforce ban on gay, transgender pride march
Chelsea Manning participates in first Pride march
Global Price Inflation Slows in June. #SMI
Meanwhile in other news....
Italy winds up Veneto banks, deal could cost up to 17 billion euros via @Reuters
CFTCs sole Democratic commissioner to step down early over frustrations with lack of quorum
First Nations front and centre this Pride. #PrideTO
SpaceX will launch 10 satellites from Vandenberg Air Force Base today
Germany reach semis as referee needs VAR double-take
Inside the hidden cycles that rule markets, history... and everyday life
These are the worlds best steakhouses
13 courtroom drawings that captured history
.@SenSchumer: Democrats better stand for something #ThisWeek
Are Hong Kongs rooftop rebels more than thrill seekers? via @AJWitness
The importance of brain flexibility
Pence officiates Mnuchins wedding
Why people think Justice Kennedy may retire
3 Habits That Can Make American Democracy Great Again
GOP senator urges Republicans to have integrity and delay vote on healthcare bill
Sou Fujimotos Bookchair doubles as both storage and seating:
Millennials might not love stocks enough @MylesUdland
Dubai retail firm launches happiness movement initiative
What secrets will physics hold beyond the “God Particle”, the Higgs Boson?
Popescu Report - Chaos in US is bullish for #gold and the euro
Sanders: FBI investigation of my wife wont be a distraction
Russian tourists love NATOs next member, much to Moscows annoyance
Stabbing victim died in his parents arms on way home from night out 
Key Republican Collins has serious concerns on healthcare bill
Second World War veteran takes to the skies in light aircraft for first time 70 years
GOP senator defends Planned Parenthood: It makes no sense to defund it
Power can do terrible things to a brain
For renters, the housing crisis never ended
Deportation is going high-tech under Trump, writes @alvarombedoya.
Someone takes things too literally.
Mayor, AFN Chief Bellegarde share a laugh awaiting start of Pride parade. #PrideTO
Kasich: Most vulnerable people wont be served by GOP healthcare bill
Key Republican Collins has serious concerns on healthcare bill
Schulz accuses Merkel of running scared over debate
An appeal to the band that woke my soul to the Palestinian crisis
Important issue! Why now? #finteech #insurtech #sexism @sarahbuhr #womenintech #VC
Is Lithuania still homophobic? @EleanorMargolis and her girlfriend held hands to find out
Hundreds evacuated in southern Spain as forest fire enters famous nature reserve
PODCAST From Baywatch to Bieber, we debate the best (and worst) of the summer silly season
Second wild boar encounter over weekend as four animals subdued in Aberdeen, Hong Kong
25 June 1967 - The Beatles record All You Need Is Love.
The disgraceful secrecy of the GOPs health care process was almost unprecedented.
How the village feast paved the way to empires and economics. From the archive:
#Diplomacy: #Qatar demands difficult to meet, now says US - @BBCNews
@Beppeley Trump urged to cut Bears Ears monument to smallest area possible #BearEars
At least 1,500 people evacuated as forest fire in southern Spain hits Donana National Park
Latin America: Price inflation eases further in June to a 6 month low. #SMI
Raise the Flag High: Queer Farming in Rural America #LoveIsLove
Glitch porn makes being naked on the internet interesting again
Why Morse code is actually a really weird way to communicate
Why the Chinese Yuan Won’t Be the World’s Reserve Currency - @vxschmid via @epochtimes
12yrs after Kelo decision, Susette Kelos neighborhood is an empty field
Trump advisers deny Trumpcare bill cuts Medicaid
Michael Bloomberg: Trump gave me his cell phone number, but he hasnt called me
Forgive the narcissism -- have to recognize The Strand bookstore in NYC for their unusually comprehensive collection
Push on with the great unwinding, BIS tells central banks
Creationist Ken Ham blames atheists and ‘fake news’ for failing Ark Encounter theme park
Biotech can finally catch a break, as long as Trump leaves it alone
This suitmaking startup is reinventing a stylish preppy staple
What is a hop-free beer? And why is it so delicious?
A warning from a former propagandist: Dont underestimate the power of disinformation
Urban Innovator of the Week: Karla Henderson
Eric Trump: DNC chair Tom Perez is a nut job
Over 50? Trumpcare Will Raise Your Premiums $4,500. via @kdrum
... but in the end it turns out, the mist was inside me the whole time.
Vitamin D could be much more important to your #health than you think
Intesa Sanpaolo board tasks CEO with completing purchase of Veneto banks assets
The European city where a smog mask is now an essential accessory
Seven lessons from @Ritholtz about the supply-side meltdown in Kansas
Saudi-led demands will be ‘difficult’ for Qatar to meet, Tillerson says
Gazas electricity crisis
NEW: Senate Republicans want more to time review healthcare bill before voting
A former Twitter exec @NathanCHubbard explains why ‘Zuck isnt running for President’
Not anti-science, just pro-myth
Bernard Plossu
Al-Wasat newspaper, which was closed down by Bahrain, fires staff
Two decades after handover, scant love for China among Hong Kong youth
Make America a reliable ally again
Namibia in Mourning for Independence Leader Herman Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo: #Namibia
Isnt it time to abolish the Electoral College?
British opposition leader Corbyn puts politics centre stage at Glastonbury Festival
Gardens separate rooms wrapped in brick, stone and wood at this Mexican courthouse:
Car hits six people leaving #Eid celebrations in #Newcastle, #England
US military families fear cut to care for children with autism
GOP ObamaCare repeal bill could send insurance markets into death spiral
Who is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s bride Louise Linton?
Stories From the Students’ Rules: Simple Diet and Proper Bearing
No Goggles at the Pool? Just Use Your Hands
Will #Brexit put at risk the peace process in Northern Ireland? Full interview →
Trump slams wind and solar but red states are embracing them
Vietnam exiles dissident Pham Minh Hoang to France after revoking his citizenship
Price claims GOP ObamaCare repeal bill will absolutely bring premiums down
.@cori_crider on the meaning of Yemens secret prisons
An oldie but a goodie: A Timeline of Failed Tech Predictions Full #infographic:
UAE president receives Eid al-Fitr greeting in rare appearance since 2014 stroke
CEO of Raytheons cybersecurity unit eyes IPO: Boersen-Zeitung
Does a 50¢ burger really cost the environment $200 to make?
The #AHCA will harm millions of Americans.
Blue Jays closer Osuna reveals struggles with anxiety off the field
State Department allowing Russian diplomats to roam free in US: report
Bulgarian leader backs EU prospects of Balkan states
South African Business Confidence Plummets in June. #SMI
Will the law treat opioids more like cigarettes or handguns?
Health insurer Anthem will pull out of two more state Obamacare markets
60 tower blocks have now failed cladding fire safety test after Grenfell Tower disaster
Istanbul police enforce ban on gay, transgender pride march
All successful investors share these 4 basic traits, analyst Ned Davis says
Conway on GOP healthcare bill that cuts Medicaid: These are not cuts to Medicaid
The ancient Greek Temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. Sounion, Greece.
SpaceX has proven it can reuse its rockets—now what?
Frances Macron mulls convening parliament in Versailles palace
Vietnam exiles dissident after revoking his citizenship
Popular Nigerian Church in Abuja Gutted By Fire: #Nigeria
When Will Your Tesla Model 3 Be Delivered? Ben Sullins May Know.
Researchers design sounds that can be recorded by microphones but inaudible to humans
This Whale Breaching Right Next to a Boat is Like Something Out of Jaws
Spicer: Trump threatening Comey with non-existent tapes helped the truth come out
Someone inserted Theresa May into “Monty Python The Holy Grail” and it’s perfect
Six children killed after trying to play with explosive in Pakistan
Trump calls for unity with Democrats, rehashes derisive nicknames for party leaders
How Warren Buffett and Jeff Bezos beat Wall Street @serwer
Republican Collins has serious concerns over health bill
Amazon is trying to control the underlying infrastructure of our economy
Schumer: Democrats must unveil a bold new economic message before 2018 midterms
Thousands in London forced to evacuate homes
career insurance at work
Illinois may soon become the first state on record to have its bond rating cut to junk
Italy commits up to $19 billion to keep Veneto Banks afloat
Democrats are readying a bold economic plan to win over voters
Seven trees photographed over two years
Is Spotify ready for the big time?
Ricciardo wins chaotic Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Vettel penalised
Energy-efficient lighting has resulted in striking cost savings for Americans
Merkels SPD rivals rally in search of German election rebound
Italian actress Sophia Loren posing for the photographers, Lido, Venice, 1958.
Dem Pelosi critic: Our party has a damaged leader
Trump: GOP Health Care Bill Needs ‘a Little Negotiation’
Frances Macron mulls convening parliament in Versailles palace
Japans biggest brokerage has chosen Frankfurt as its EU base after Brexit, sources say
What to expect when SCOTUS acts on Trumps travel ban
Vision and screwdrivers - Macron and Merkel converge on Europe
The arrow of time? Its all in our heads:
The Money You Get From ATMs is Disgusting
Hope you find time to listen for a little of this today
Turkey police break up Gay Pride parade in Istanbul
Tillerson: Qatar is working on requests made by countries blockading it
Apples new campus sucks according to Wired magazine:
STUDY: Up to 5.7 Million non-citizens voted in past presidential elections.
.@Europarl_EN MEPs monitoring #Greek programme visiting Athens on Monday, Tuesday
The deadly conflict tearing Nigeria apart (and it’s not Boko Haram): (@irinnews)

Tony Yates
Disaster economics
8 days ago

The UK is rightly transfixed with the unfolding story of the catastrophic fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington, London, which at the time of writing had led to 30 confirmed deaths.  This follows – as the Queen pointed out in her birthday message – terrorist attacks on Westminster and London Bridges, and in Manchester.

‘Disaster economics’ seems like an inappropriately technocratic topic at a time like this.  But disasters often have their root in the inherent challenges of disaster economics [or rather disaster economics and statistics].  And failing to rise to them can lead to more disasters than is necessary.

One of the main challenges is figuring out the frequency of disaster-events of different severity, when such things are relatively rare.  In small samples of a few years, you will have many observations of rainfall around the most common quantity, but you will have very few – perhaps even no – occurrences of huge floods.  Estimating the probability of a huge flood or a catastrophic drought is therefore a more hazardous business than guessing the probabilities of milder events.

A key part of this problem is figuring out not just the frequency of very bad things, but how that changes as policy changes.  How high would a sea wall have to be to reduce floods of a seaside town to 1 year in an 100?  How much resources would need to be spent on potential terrorist supervision to reduce the frequency of London Bridge style attacks to one every ten years?

A focus of the literature on policymaking when the chance of very bad things happening is poorly estimated is the idea of ‘robustness’.  I came across late applications by Tom Sargent and others of this idea to monetary policymaking, but the idea was stolen from engineering and control work done in the 1960s and 1970s.  The idea here is to set up the policy problem so that one chooses a policy that does best in the event that things turn out as worse as could be compared to the benchmark understanding of the policy problem.  To translate:  imagine we start out with a guess at the height needed to build a sea wall to get the frequency of a flood down to 100 years equal to 3 metres.  We then say – what’s the worst this height could actually be without it being apparent in the data we have?  Suppose the answer to that is 5m.  We then fund a sea wall to 5m.

Two difficulties follow from this.  The first is that it is not often easy to put a boundary on the ‘worst case scenario’.  If our time series on floods is short, or patchy, or not that accurate, we might not have a good idea where that boundary lies.

A second difficulty arises from the fact that scarce public funds have to try to deal pre-emptively with multiple sets of disasters of unknown probability.  If the only thing we had to spend money on was terrorist attacks, we could simply define the worse case scenario of the amount needed to get attacks down to 1 in 10 years to be the total feasible tax take.

But in reality governments have to deal with the risk of tower block fires, hospital epidemics, terrorist attacks, wars, floods, road pile-ups, corruption, cyber attacks, financial crises, climate change, prison riots, and much more.

An overly cautious approach to avoiding one kind of catastrophe deprives funds available to prevent others, and will lead to more catastrophes of those kind.

The problem of disaster policymaking gets harder when we place it in the context of a real life democracy with real voters.   Several issues arise.

First is gaining acceptance that – particularly given the multi-dimensional and competing nature of disasters that we face – it is impossible to eliminate risk entirely.

A second problem that derives from this is the need for ‘something to be done’ in response to a disaster.  I say this derives from the first difficulty, because even with optimal disaster policy, there are going to be disasters, so it may be that nothing needs to be done at all.  I make this point not to pretend that this is the position we are in at the moment.   There are plenty of persuasive arguments emerging out of the coverage of the Grenfell Tower fire and recent terrorist attacks that might lead us to think that things have to be done.

Third, given the news cycle, short memories, and the limited horizons of politicians in a competitive democracy, there is pressure for something to be done quickly enough for the incumbents to salvage credit for responding appropriately and quickly to the disaster.  A better something – that did not drain money from effective disaster prevention elsewhere – that emerged out of a time-consuming investigation, can’t always be waited for.

Fourth, policy is made in the prism of voters psychological responses to different kinds of risk.  These responses are not always rational, as research in behavioural economics and related fields has shown.

A famous recent example is the response of US citizens to the 2001 terrorist attacks involving hijacking planes to be used as bombs.  The thought of being caught up in such a horrible event, however, unlikely, was sufficient to cause so many people to use road transport instead, that far more were killed on the roads, due to mundane, but less awful to contemplate, risks of crashes [than would have been given a plausible estimate of the chance of repeat plane hijacks].

Making this point is rather distasteful given what Grenfell Tower residents went through, and how that disaster might well have been averted with safer construction, or better evacuation advice.  I’m hoping that you take me to mean not that these reactions in the analysis so far are misplaced, just that the good that comes out of this tragedy is not confined to fire safety, but involves an appreciation of disaster economics and policy as a whole.

Another feature of the disaster policy problem is that it can be easier to muster political support and mission to respond to events that are fresh in the mind, rather than to risks that appear, at least perhaps to some local constituency, to be latent, that is risks that have a certain probability of happening but have not yet happened.  This is perhaps what dogs climate change mitigation, where the connection between our individual choices and the problem is hard to detect.

Climate change’s most dramatic effects to date seem to be far from the UK, at the polls, or in glacial areas, or in low-lying, poorer economies that most of us have not visited.   Or, like climate change, the connection between the policy choice and the event is far removed in time [in this case, discussion revolves around temperature changes over 100 years].

This is not to push back against the likely response to the Grenfell Tower fire.  Far from it.  The point would be that winding back time to before the fire policy choices up to that point might later be seen to have been tainted by the issue of failing to respond appropriately to risks that were at that time latent, yet to crystallize.

A final aspect of the disaster policy problem relates to general difficulties that people, the media and policymakers tend to have in dealing with statistics and policy analysis.

These difficulties surface all the time, and cropped up in the much more mundane and less tragic context of the debate around Brexit.

For example:  framing the analysis of the cost of Brexit as the assertion that people will, with certainty, be x amount poorer [which led to the counter under the banner of ‘project fear’];  the deduction by Brexiteers that the counterfactual analysis HMT and others did could be dismissed as a simple ‘forecast’;  the observation by Brexiteers that pre-referendum forecasts of the UK turned out to be ‘wrong’.  And many more.

There are pockets of wisdom in public policy thinking that relate to this disaster economics issue.  For example, in health, there is the ‘qualy’, a way of figuring out how many units of good life a given amount of spending on different treatments confers, and thus allocating money between them to preserve the maximum amount of life for a £.  And in defence analysis there was a tradition of the exact opposite:  working out how much it costs to kill the enemy using different weapons, and therefore optimising the number killed for a £ of expenditure.

But this kind of analysis tends to be kept under wraps for fear of causing revulsion and a collapse in support for state activities.

Reading this draft back, there is a risk that some are going to take it as a tactless and dry response to the sickening events of the last few months.

But the intention is to point out that there is a need not just to get the Grenfell Tower response right, but to take a look at the government’s approach to disaster economics as a whole.  Is the tax take reserved for such things large enough?  And is it divided up in the right way?  Are all regulations – not just fire regulations – striking the right balance between liberty and disaster prevention?  And not just one determined by the kind of dysfunctions described above?