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Awareness As An Adaptation Strategy For Reducing Mortality From Heat Waves: Evidence From A Disaster Risk Management Program In India

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  • SAUDAMINI DAS

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Swami Shradhanand College, University of Delhi, Delhi 110036, India; Institute of Economic Growth, University of Delhi Enclave, Delhi 110007, India)

  • STEPHEN C. SMITH

    ()
    (Department of Economics and Institute for International Economic Policy, George Washington University, 306 Monroe Hall, 2115 G St NW, Washington DC 20052, USA)

Abstract

Heat waves, defined as an interval of abnormally hot and humid weather, have become a prominent killer in recent years. With heat waves worsening with climate change, adaptation is essential; one strategy has been to issue heat wave warnings and undertake awareness campaigns to bring about behavioral changes to reduce heat stroke. Since 2002, the Indian state of Odisha has been undertaking a grassroots awareness campaign on "dos and don'ts" during heat wave conditions through the disaster risk management (DRM) program. The selection criteria for DRM districts were earthquake, flood and cyclone incidence; but subsequently, heat wave awareness also received intensive attention in these districts. We present quasi-experimental evidence on the impact of the program, taking DRM districts and periods as treatment units and the rest as controls, analyzing the impact on the death toll from heat stroke for the 1998 to 2010 period, using difference-in-difference (DID) regressions with a district level panel data set and a set of control variables. We find indications of program effectiveness with initial DID specifications, but results are not always robust. We then take into account a statewide heat wave advertising program, to which the poor have limited exposure but which may also provide spillover benefits, using a triple differencing approach; results suggest the heat wave awareness programs may have complementary impacts. We examine research strategies for further improvement in the precision of impact evaluation results for innovative programs of this type.

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Article provided by World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd. in its journal Climate Change Economics.

Volume (Year): 03 (2012)
Issue (Month): 02 ()
Pages: 1250010-1-1250010-29

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Handle: RePEc:wsi:ccexxx:v:03:y:2012:i:02:p:1250010-1-1250010-29

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Keywords: Adaptation; climate change; awareness campaign; behavioral change; disaster risk management program; heat waves; public health; program evaluation; low income countries; Odisha; India; difference-in-difference; Q54; 013; I18;

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  1. Olivier Deschenes & Enrico Moretti, 2007. "Extreme Weather Events, Mortality and Migration," NBER Working Papers 13227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  5. Robert Mendelsohn, 2012. "The Economics Of Adaptation To Climate Change In Developing Countries," Climate Change Economics (CCE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 3(02), pages 1250006-1-1.
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