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Mitigating Natural Disasters through Collective Action: The Effectiveness of Tsunami Early Warnings


  • Monica P. Escaleras

    () (Florida Atlantic University, Department of Economics, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA)

  • Charles A. Register

    () (Florida Atlantic University, Department of Economics, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA)


The megathrust earthquake centered near Sumatra on December 26, 2004, generated a tsunami that resulted in an estimated 150,000 deaths in Indonesia alone. In response, commitments have been made to extend the existing tsunami early warning systems in the Pacific to the remainder of the world subject to tsunamis. Surprisingly, while these systems have been in place in some cases for more than half a century, to date no analysis of their effectiveness has been presented. We fill this research gap by analyzing 146 out of the 202 tsunamis occurring worldwide since 1966. Relying on a negative binomial regression model that controls for the dynamics of the tsunami, we find early warnings to be quite effective in reducing deaths. The model also controls for additional factors important in determining a tsunami's death toll such as socioeconomic conditions, which have been shown to be important in other natural disasters.

Suggested Citation

  • Monica P. Escaleras & Charles A. Register, 2008. "Mitigating Natural Disasters through Collective Action: The Effectiveness of Tsunami Early Warnings," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 1017-1034, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:sej:ancoec:v:74:4:y:2008:p:1017-1034

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    Blog mentions

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      by Tyler Cowen in Marginal Revolution on 2011-03-13 21:40:49
    2. Assorted links
      by Tyler Cowen in Cafe Hayek on 2011-03-13 21:40:49


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "The changing effect of legal origin on death tolls in natural disasters from 1960 to 2008," MPRA Paper 33112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Monica Escaleras & Charles Register, 2012. "Fiscal decentralization and natural hazard risks," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(1), pages 165-183, April.
    3. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Impact of natural disaster on public sector corruption," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 385-405, December.
    4. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Effect of free media on views regarding the safety of nuclear energy after the 2011 disasters in Japan: evidence using cross-country data," MPRA Paper 32011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Sutter Daniel & Ewing Bradley T., 2016. "State of Knowledge of Economic Value of Current and Improved Hurricane Forecasts," Journal of Business Valuation and Economic Loss Analysis, De Gruyter, vol. 11(1), pages 45-64, June.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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