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Disasters and development: natural disasters, credit constraints, and economic growth

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  • Thomas K.J. McDermott
  • Frank Barry
  • Richard S.J. Tol

Abstract

Using a simple two-period model of the economy, we demonstrate the potential effects of natural disasters on economic growth over the medium to long term. In particular, we focus on the effect of such shocks on investment. We examine two polar cases: an economy in which agents have unconstrained access to capital markets, versus a credit-constrained version, where the economy is assumed to operate in financial autarky. Considering these extreme cases allows us to highlight the interaction of disasters and economic underdevelopment, manifested through poorly developed financial markets. The predictions of our theoretical model are tested using a panel of data on natural disaster events at the country-year level, for the period 1979–2007. We find that for countries with low levels of financial sector development, natural disasters have persistent negative effects on economic growth over the medium term. These results are robust to various checks.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas K.J. McDermott & Frank Barry & Richard S.J. Tol, 2014. "Disasters and development: natural disasters, credit constraints, and economic growth," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(3), pages 750-773.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:66:y:2014:i:3:p:750-773.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lopez-Uribe, Maria del Pilar & Castells-Quintana, David & McDermott, Thomas K. J., 2017. "Geography, institutions and development: a review ofthe long-run impacts of climate change," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 65147, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Klomp, Jeroen, 2017. "Flooded with debt," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 73(PA), pages 93-103.
    3. Breckner, Miriam & Englmaier, Florian & Stowasser, Till & Sunde, Uwe, 2016. "Resilience to natural disasters — Insurance penetration, institutions, and disaster types," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 106-110.
    4. Thomas K.J. McDermott, 2011. "The Effects of Natural Disasters on Human Capital Accumulation," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp391, IIIS, revised Feb 2012.
    5. Lazzaroni, Sara & van Bergeijk, Peter A.G., 2014. "Natural disasters' impact, factors of resilience and development: A meta-analysis of the macroeconomic literature," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 333-346.
    6. Matthew Ranson & Lisa Tarquinio & Audrey Lew, 2016. "Modeling the Impact of Climate Change on Extreme Weather Losses," NCEE Working Paper Series 201602, National Center for Environmental Economics, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, revised May 2016.
    7. Koetter, Michael & Noth, Felix & Rehbein, Oliver, 2016. "Borrowers under water! Rare disasters, regional banks, and recovery lending," IWH Discussion Papers 31/2016, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    8. Samuel Fankhauser & Thomas K.J. McDermott, 2013. "Understanding the adaptation deficit: why are poor countries more vulnerable to climate events than rich countries?," GRI Working Papers 134, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    9. repec:eco:journ2:2017-03-42 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Keerthiratne, Subhani & Tol, Richard S.J., 2018. "Impact of natural disasters on income inequality in Sri Lanka," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 105(C), pages 217-230.
    11. Fankhauser, Samuel & McDermott, Thomas K. J., 2014. "Understanding the adaptation deficit: why are poor countries more vulnerable to climate events than rich countries?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 57620, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Subhani Keerthiratne & Richard S. J. Tol, 2017. "Impact of Natural Disasters on Financial Development," Economics of Disasters and Climate Change, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 33-54, June.
    13. Matthew A. COLE & Robert J R ELLIOTT & OKUBO Toshihiro & Eric STROBL, 2015. "The Effectiveness of Pre-Disaster Planning and Post-Disaster Aid: Examining the impact on plants of the Great East Japan Earthquake," Discussion papers 15097, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    14. David Castells-Quintana & Maria del Pilar Lopez-Uribe & Tom McDermott, 2015. "Climate change and the geographical and institutional drivers of economic development," GRI Working Papers 198, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.
    15. George Halkos & Shunsuke Managi & Nickolaos Tzeremes, 2015. "The effect of natural and man-made disasters on countries’ production efficiency," Journal of Economic Structures, Springer;Pan-Pacific Association of Input-Output Studies (PAPAIOS), vol. 4(1), pages 1-13, December.
    16. repec:spr:gjofsm:v:18:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s40171-017-0169-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. repec:eee:soceco:v:73:y:2018:i:c:p:116-124 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth

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