November 5, 2012
David Stromberg laid out the economic arguments about natural disasters in "Natural Disasters, Economic Development, and Humanitarian Aid," appearing in the Summer 2007 issue of my own Journal of Economic Perspectives. (This article, like all JEP articles back to the start of the journal 1987, is freely available to all courtesy of the American Economic Association.)
Michael Giberson of Texas Tech University provides a nice readable essay on "The Problem with Price Gouging Laws" in the Spring 2011 issue of Regulation magazine. I blogged about the article here. He points out that 31 states have such laws, and that the completely predictable problems with such laws are that they discourage bringing supplies into disaster areas, they discourage conserving on key resources, they concentrate economic losses on local merchants, and they worsen the economic losses in the disaster area.