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Natural Hazards, UnNatural Disasters : The Economics of Effective Prevention

  • World Bank
  • United Nations
Registered author(s):

    This report synthesizes knowledge about the effects of natural hazards on human welfare, particularly in its economic aspects. It is a remarkable combination of case studies, data on many scales, and the application of economic principles to the problems posed by earthquakes, abnormal weather, and the like. It provides a deep understanding of the relative roles of the market, government intervention, and social institutions in determining and improving both the prevention and the response to hazardous occurrences. The report looks at disasters primarily through an economic lens. Economists emphasize self-interest to explain how people choose the amount of prevention, insurance, and coping. But lenses can distort as well as sharpen images, so the report also draws from other disciplines: psychology to examine how people may misperceive risks, political science to understand voting patterns, and nutrition science to see how stunting in children after a disaster impairs cognitive abilities and productivity as adults much later. Peering into the future, the report shows that growing cities will increase exposure to hazards, but that vulnerability will not rise if cities are better managed. The intensities and frequencies of hazards in the coming decades will change with the climate, and the report examines this complicated and contentious subject, acknowledging all the limitations of data and science.

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    File URL: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/2512/578600PUB0epi2101public10BOX353782B.pdf?sequence=1
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    This book is provided by The World Bank in its series World Bank Publications with number 2512 and published in 2010.
    ISBN: 978-0-8213-8050-5
    Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbpubs:2512
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    Phone: (202) 477-1234
    Web page: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org
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    1. Glaeser Edward L, 2005. "Should the Government Rebuild New Orleans, Or Just Give Residents Checks?," The Economists' Voice, De Gruyter, vol. 2(4), pages 1-7, September.
    2. Dasgupta, Susmita & Laplante, Benoit & Murray, Siobhan & Wheeler, David, 2009. "Sea-level rise and storm surges : a comparative analysis of impacts in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4901, The World Bank.
    3. R. J. Nicholls & S. Hanson & Celine Herweijer & Nicola Patmore & Stéphane Hallegatte & Jan Corfee-Morlot & Jean Château & Robert Muir-Wood, 2008. "Ranking Port Cities with High Exposure and Vulnerability to Climate Extremes: Exposure Estimates," OECD Environment Working Papers 1, OECD Publishing.
    4. Tol, Richard S. J. & Narita, Daiju & Anthoff, David, 2008. "Damage Costs of Climate Change through Intensification of Tropical Cyclone Activities: An Application of FUND," Papers WP259, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    5. Scott Barrett, 2008. "The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(1), pages 45-54, January.
    6. Barrett, Scott & Toman, Michael, 2010. "Contrasting future paths for an evolving global climate regime," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5164, The World Bank.
    7. Henderson, J. Vernon & Wang, Hyoung Gun, 2007. "Urbanization and city growth: The role of institutions," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 283-313, May.
    8. Mendelsohn, Robert & Emanuel, Kerry & Chonabayashi, Shun, 2011. "The impact of climate change on global tropical storm damages," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5562, The World Bank.
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