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Disaster Risk, Social Vulnerability and Economic Development

Author

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  • Ward, Patrick S.
  • Shively, Gerald E.

Abstract

We examine the extent to which economic development reduces both a country's disaster risk and its social vulnerability to climate-related disasters. Global climate change is expected to increase the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and various types of storms. Moreover, the effects of these extreme weather events are expected to be borne disproportionately in areas of the world already challenged by underdevelopment. We find that the ability of economic development to reduce disaster risk depends on a country's income level; additional income becomes less effective in reducing disaster risk as countries become wealthier. We find that, conditional on a disaster occurring, higher incomes generally reduce a country's social vulnerability to such disasters. We additionally find that underlying political structures have an important influence over the human costs of disasters, with outcomes more favorable in democratic societies.

Suggested Citation

  • Ward, Patrick S. & Shively, Gerald E., 2011. "Disaster Risk, Social Vulnerability and Economic Development," 2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 102984, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea11:102984
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/102984
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dan Ben-David, 1993. "Equalizing Exchange: Trade Liberalization and Income Convergence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 653-679.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ward, Patrick & Shively, Gerald, 2012. "Vulnerability, Income Growth and Climate Change," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(5), pages 916-927.
    2. Davlasheridze, Meri & Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Allen Klaiber, H., 2017. "The effects of adaptation measures on hurricane induced property losses: Which FEMA investments have the highest returns?," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 81(C), pages 93-114.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural disasters; climate change; economic development; vulnerability; International Development; Political Economy; I3; Q5; O2;

    JEL classification:

    • I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • O2 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy

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