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Do Natural Disasters Enhance Societal Trust?


  • Hideki Toya
  • Mark Skidmore


In this paper we investigate the long- and short-run relationships between disasters and societal trust. A growing body research suggests that factors such as income inequality, ethnic fractionalization, and religious heritage are important determinants of social capital in general, and trust in particular. We present new cross-country and panel data evidence of another important determinant of trust—the frequency of natural disasters. Frequent naturally occurring events such as storms require (and provide opportunity for) societies to work closely together to meet their challenges. While natural disasters can have devastating human and economic impacts, a potential spillover benefit of greater disaster exposure may be a more tightly knit society.

Suggested Citation

  • Hideki Toya & Mark Skidmore, 2012. "Do Natural Disasters Enhance Societal Trust?," CESifo Working Paper Series 3905, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_3905

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Knack & Philip Keefer, 1997. "Does Social Capital Have an Economic Payoff? A Cross-Country Investigation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1251-1288.
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    6. Hideki Toya & Mark Skidmore & Raymond Robertson, 2010. "A Reevaluation of the Effect of Human Capital Accumulation on Economic Growth Using Natural Disasters as an Instrument," Eastern Economic Journal, Palgrave Macmillan;Eastern Economic Association, vol. 36(1), pages 120-137.
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    9. repec:hrv:faseco:30726298 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Blog mentions

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    1. Every cloud has a silver lining
      by UDADISI in UDADISI on 2014-04-27 03:53:00


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    Cited by:

    1. John F. Helliwell & Haifang Huang & Shun Wang, 2016. "New Evidence on Trust and Well-being," NBER Working Papers 22450, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Chisako Yamane & Shoko Yamane & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2015. "Trust and Happiness: Comparative Study Before and After the Great East Japan Earthquake," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 919-935, September.
    3. Eiji Yamamura, 2016. "Natural disasters and social capital formation: The impact of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 95, pages 143-164, March.
    4. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Impact of natural disaster on public sector corruption," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 385-405, December.
    5. John F. Helliwell & Lara B. Aknin & Hugh Shiplett & Haifang Huang & Shun Wang, 2017. "Social Capital and Prosocial Behaviour as Sources of Well-Being," NBER Working Papers 23761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Francesco Pasimeni & Paolo Pasimeni, 2016. "An Institutional Analysis of the Europe 2020 Strategy," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 127(3), pages 1021-1038, July.
    7. Xu Xu & Kevin Sylwester, 2016. "Environmental Quality and International Migration," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(1), pages 157-180, February.
    8. Daniel Oto-Peralías, 2015. "The Long-term Effects of Political Violence on Political Attitudes: Evidence from the Spanish Civil War," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 68(3), pages 412-442, August.
    9. Liu, Gordon G. & Xue, Xindong & Yu, Chenxi & Wang, Yafeng, 2016. "How does social capital matter to the health status of older adults? Evidence from the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 22(C), pages 177-189.
    10. Hans Pitlik, 2016. "Who Disapproves of TTIP? Multiple Distrust in Companies and Political Institutions," WIFO Working Papers 513, WIFO.
    11. Lewis Davis, 2016. "Individual Responsibility and Economic Development: Evidence from Rainfall Data," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(3), pages 426-470, August.

    More about this item


    natural disasters; economic development; social capital; trust;

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming


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