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The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions

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  • Matthew E. Kahn

    (Tufts University)

Abstract

Using a new data set on annual deaths from disasters in 73 nations from 1980 to 2002, this paper tests several hypotheses concerning natural-disaster mitigation. Though richer nations do not experience fewer natural disasters than poorer nations, richer nations do suffer less death from disaster. Economic development provides implicit insurance against nature's shocks. Democracies and nations with higher-quality institutions suffer less death from natural disaster. Because climate change is expected to increase the frequency of natural disasters such as floods, these results have implications for the incidence of global warming. © 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Matthew E. Kahn, 2005. "The Death Toll from Natural Disasters: The Role of Income, Geography, and Institutions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 271-284, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:2:p:271-284
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    JEL classification:

    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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