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The authors estimate an empirical model of consumption disasters using a new panel data set on personal consumer expenditure for 24 countries and more than 100 years, and study its implications for asset prices. The model allows for permanent and transitory effects of disasters that unfold over multiple years. It also allows the timing of disasters to be correlated across countries. Their estimates imply that the average disaster reaches its trough after 6 years, with a peak-to-trough drop in consumption of about 30%, but that roughly half of this decline is reversed in a subsequent recovery. Uncertainty about consumption growth increases dramatically during disasters.
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