Earthquake Propensity and the Politics of Mortality Prevention
Summary Governments can significantly reduce earthquake mortality by enforcing quake-proof construction regulation. We examine why many governments do not. First, mortality is lower in countries with higher earthquake propensity, where the payoffs to investments in mortality prevention are greater. Second, the opportunity costs of these investments are higher in poorer countries; mortality is correspondingly less responsive to propensity in poor countries. Third, mortality is higher at any level of quake propensity when governments have fewer incentives to provide public goods, such as in autocracies with less institutionalized ruling parties or in more corrupt countries.
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