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Catastrophic Natural Disasters and Economic Growth

Listed author(s):
  • Eduardo Cavallo

    ()

    (Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department)

  • Sebastian Galiani

    ()

    (Washington University in St. Louis)

  • Ilan Noy

    ()

    (University of Hawaii, Department of Economics)

  • Juan Pantano

    ()

    (Washington University in St. Louis)

We examine the short and long run average causal impact of catastrophic natural disasters on economic growth by combining information from comparative case studies. We assess the counterfactual of the cases studied by constructing synthetic control groups taking advantage of the fact that the timing of large sudden natural disasters is an exogenous event. We find that only extremely large disasters have a negative effect on output both in the short and long run. However, we also show that this result from two events where radical political revolutions followed the natural disasters. Once we control for these political changes, even extremely large disasters do not display any significant effect on economic growth. We also find that smaller, but still very large natural disasters, have no discernible effect on output in the short run or in the long run.

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File URL: http://www.economics.hawaii.edu/research/workingpapers/WP_10-6.pdf
File Function: First version, 2010
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Paper provided by University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 201006.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: 28 Apr 2010
Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201006
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  6. Eduardo Cavallo & Andrew Powell & Oscar Becerra, 2010. "Estimating the Direct Economic Damages of the Earthquake in Haiti," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 298-312, August.
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  17. 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.
  18. Eduardo Cavallo & Andrew Powell & Oscar Becerra, 2010. "Estimating the Direct Economic Damages of the Earthquake in Haiti," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 120(546), pages 298-312, 08.
  19. Abadie, Alberto & Diamond, Alexis & Hainmueller, Jens, 2010. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California’s Tobacco Control Program," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 105(490), pages 493-505.
  20. Kellenberg, Derek K. & Mobarak, Ahmed Mushfiq, 2008. "Does rising income increase or decrease damage risk from natural disasters?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 788-802, May.
  21. Xavier Sala-i-Martín & Elsa V. Artadi, 2003. "Economic growth and investment in the Arab world," Economics Working Papers 683, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  22. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A., 2005. "Institutions as a Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 6, pages 385-472 Elsevier.
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