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Natural disasters and labour markets

  • Martina Kirchberger
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    While it is clear that natural disasters have serious welfare consequences for affected populations, less is known with respect to how local labour markets in low income countries adjust to such large shocks, in particular the general equilibrium effects of the increase in the demand for construction as well as the inflow of resources in the aftermath of natural disasters. Combining data from the Indonesia Family Life Survey, the Desinventar database, the US Geological Survey and district level employment indicators, this paper explores how a large earthquake in Indonesia affected local labour markets, in particular the evolution of wages and employment across sectors. We find that wage growth in the agriculture sector is significantly higher in earthquake affected areas. We propose two mechanisms for this result: a higher growth rate of the price of rice in agricultural communities which switch from being net sellers to net buyers of rice and a downward shift in the supply of workers in the agricultural sector. We show evidence for both mechanisms.

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    File URL: http://www.csae.ox.ac.uk/workingpapers/pdfs/csae-wps-2014-19.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2014-19.

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    Date of creation: 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2014-19
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