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Building Resilience to Natural Disasters: An Application to Small Developing States

Author

Listed:
  • Ricardo Marto
  • Chris Papageorgiou
  • Vladimir Klyuev

Abstract

We present a dynamic small open economy model to explore the macroeconomic impact of natural disasters. In addition to permanent damages to public and private capital, the disaster causes temporary losses of productivity, inefficiencies during the reconstruction process, and damages to the sovereign's creditworthiness. We use the model to study the debt sustainability concerns that arise from the need to rebuild public infrastructure over the medium term and analyze the feasibility of ex ante policies, such as building adaptation infrastructure and fiscal buffers, and contrast these policies with the post-disaster support provided by donors. Investing in resilient infrastructure may prove useful, in particular if it is viewed as complementary to standard infrastructure, because it raises the marginal product of private capital, crowding in private investment, while helping withstand the impact of the natural disaster. In an application to Vanuatu, we find that donors should provide an additional 50% of pre-cyclone GDP in grants to be spent over the following 15 years to ensure public debt remains sustainable following Cyclone Pam. Helping the government build resilience on the other hand, reduces the risk of debt distress and at lower cost for donors.

Suggested Citation

  • Ricardo Marto & Chris Papageorgiou & Vladimir Klyuev, 2017. "Building Resilience to Natural Disasters: An Application to Small Developing States," IMF Working Papers 17/223, International Monetary Fund.
  • Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:17/223
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Keywords

    Debt sustainability; Disaster aid; Foreign aid; Climatic changes; Infrastructure; Econometric models; Vanuatu; Natural Disastes; Resilience; Adaptation; Small States; International Lending and Debt Problems; Infrastructures; Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development;

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • F34 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - International Lending and Debt Problems
    • F35 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Aid
    • H54 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Infrastructures
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • H84 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues - - - Disaster Aid
    • O23 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Development Planning and Policy - - - Fiscal and Monetary Policy in Development
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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