Economic Adjustment

How are Economic Impact Variables Converted and Adjusted for Inflation?

All economic damage in EM-DAT is expressed in thousands of US$ (see Column Description and Economic Impact Variables). For each disaster, the registered figure corresponds to value of the damage at the moment of the event. If a source reports damage in another currency, it is first converted to US$ before it is entered in EM-DAT using a converter (see this example), at the exchange rate when the damage occurred.

The adjusted economic losses in EM-DAT provide a monetary value in US$ that has been adjusted for inflation (see Column Description). The adjustment is linearly proportional to the OECD Consumer Price Index (CPI) provided by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The CPI reflects the change in prices of a basket of goods and services that are typically purchased by specific groups of households. EM-DAT relies on the total CPI, i.e., including both food and energy products in the basket, defined for the USA.

In practice, OECD provides the US CPI with 2015 as the base year (\(CPI_{2015}=100\), see In EM-DAT, the CPI is rescaled to use the last year as a reference, e.g., \(CPI_{2021}=100\). The rescaling is performed when the OECD CPI value becomes available. The economic losses given for the current year are therefore not adjusted and not reported in the column Total Damages, Adjusted ('000 US$).