Gilles Carbonnier, Humanitarian Economics: War, Disaster, and the Global Aid Market (Oxford University Press, 2016).

While the booming humanitarian sector faces daunting challenges, humanitarian economics emerges as a new field of study and practice–one that encompasses the economics and political economy of war, disaster, terrorism and humanitarianism.

Carbonnier’s book is the first to present humanitarian economics to a wide readership, defining its parameters, explaining its utility and convincing us why it matters. Among the issues he discusses are: how are emotions and altruism incorporated within a rational-choice framework? How do the economics of war and terrorism inform humanitarians’ negotiations with combatants, and shed light on the role of aid in conflict? What do catastrophe bonds and risk-linked securities hold for disaster response?

As more actors enter the humanitarian marketplace (including private firms), Carbonnier’s revealing portrayal is especially timely, as is his critique of the transformative power of crises.

About the Author
Gilles Carbonnier is Professor of Development Economics, the Graduate Institute, Geneva. He has over twenty years of experience in international trade, development and humanitarian action.