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Shaken, Not Stirred: The Impact of Disasters on International Trade

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  • Martin Gassebner
  • Alexander Keck
  • Robert Teh

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of major disasters on import and export flows using a gravity model (170 countries, 1962–2004). As a conservative estimate, an additional disaster reduces imports on average by 0.2% and exports by 0.1%. Despite the apparent persistence of bilateral trade volumes, we find that the driving forces determining the impact of disastrous events are the level of democracy and the geographical size of the affected country. The less democratic and the smaller a country the greater is its loss due to a catastrophe. In autocracies, exports and imports are significantly reduced. Had Togo been struck by a major disaster in 2000, it would have lost 6.2% of its imports and 3.7% of its exports. While democratic countries' exports suffer identical decreases, imports increase.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Gassebner & Alexander Keck & Robert Teh, 2010. "Shaken, Not Stirred: The Impact of Disasters on International Trade," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(2), pages 351-368, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:18:y:2010:i:2:p:351-368
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9396.2010.00868.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • P48 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems - - - Political Economy; Legal Institutions; Property Rights; Natural Resources; Energy; Environment; Regional Studies
    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models

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