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Natural Disasters, Economic Development, and Humanitarian Aid

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  • David Strömberg

Abstract

Natural disasters are one of the major problems facing humankind. Between 1980 and 2004, two million people were reported killed and five billion people cumulatively affected by around 7,000 natural disasters, according to the dataset maintained by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED) at University of Louvain (Belgium). The economic costs are considerable and rising. The direct economic damage from natural disasters between 1980-2004 is estimated at around $1 trillion. This paper starts by describing the incidence of natural disasters, where they strike, and their development over time. It then discusses how societal factors act to protect people from or expose them to natural hazards. The final section discusses the determinants and targets of international aid to disaster victims.

Suggested Citation

  • David Strömberg, 2007. "Natural Disasters, Economic Development, and Humanitarian Aid," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 199-222, Summer.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:21:y:2007:i:3:p:199-222
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.21.3.199
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    1. Tobias N. Rasmussen, 2004. "Macroeconomic Implications of Natural Disasters in the Caribbean," IMF Working Papers 04/224, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 271-284, May.
    3. Isham, Jonathan & Kaufmann, Daniel & Pritchett, Lant H, 1997. "Civil Liberties, Democracy, and the Performance of Government Projects," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 219-242, May.
    4. Collier, Paul & Dollar, David, 2002. "Aid allocation and poverty reduction," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(8), pages 1475-1500, September.
    5. P. Peduzzi & H. Herold, 2005. "Mapping Disastrous Natural Hazards Using Global Datasets," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 35(2), pages 265-289, June.
    6. Maxx Dilley & Robert S. Chen & Uwe Deichmann & Arthur L. Lerner-Lam & Margaret Arnold, 2005. "Natural Disaster Hotspots: A Global Risk Analysis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7376.
    7. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U. S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728.
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