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How Resilient are Labour Markets to Natural Disasters? The Case of the 1998 Bangladesh Flood


  • Valerie Mueller
  • Agnes Quisumbing


Natural disasters devastate economies as they impede capital accumulation. The resilience of labour markets is crucial for the poor who rely on labour to reduce risk. We evaluate how the 1998 ‘flood of the century’ affected wages in Bangladesh. We find short-term declines in agricultural and non-agricultural wages. Agricultural workers who moved towards non-agricultural employment to cope benefitted through a lower percentage reduction in short-term wages. Endowed with human capital, salaried workers were unable to mitigate income risk. Extending the eligibility of credit access or relief programmes may preserve local businesses and their employees in the years following a flood.

Suggested Citation

  • Valerie Mueller & Agnes Quisumbing, 2011. "How Resilient are Labour Markets to Natural Disasters? The Case of the 1998 Bangladesh Flood," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(12), pages 1954-1971.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jdevst:v:47:y:2011:i:12:p:1954-1971
    DOI: 10.1080/00220388.2011.579113

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    Cited by:

    1. Tillmann Heidelk, 2019. "The Returns to Education in the Context of a Natural Disaster: Evidence from the 2010 Earthquake in Haiti," Working Papers ECARES 2019-17, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Giorgio Di Pietro & Toni Mora, 2015. "The Effect of the L'Aquila Earthquake on Labour Market Outcomes," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 33(2), pages 239-255, April.
    3. Canessa, Eugenia & Giannelli, Gianna Claudia, 2021. "Women's Employment and Natural Shocks," IZA Discussion Papers 14055, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    4. Burzynski, Michal & de Melo, Jaime & Deuster, Christoph & Docquier, Frédéric, 2019. "Climate Change, Inequality, and Human Migration," CEPR Discussion Papers 13997, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Desbureaux, Sébastien & Rodella, Aude-Sophie, 2019. "Drought in the city: The economic impact of water scarcity in Latin American metropolitan areas," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 13-27.
    6. Quang Nguyen, 2017. "Do Natural Disasters Open a Window of Opportunity for Corruption?," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 53(1), pages 156-172, January.
    7. Sin Meun How & Geoffrey N. Kerr, 2019. "Earthquake Impacts on Immigrant Participation in the Greater Christchurch Construction Labor Market," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 38(2), pages 241-269, April.
    8. Hamid R. Oskorouchi & Alfonso Sousa‐Poza, 2021. "Floods, food security, and coping strategies: Evidence from Afghanistan," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 52(1), pages 123-140, January.
    9. Parida, Yashobanta & Roy Chowdhury, Joyita, 2021. "An empirical analysis of the effect of floods on rural agricultural wages across Indian states," World Development Perspectives, Elsevier, vol. 23(C).

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