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Saving and Re-building Lives: an Analysis of the Determinants of Disaster Relief

  • Geethanjali Selvaretnam
  • Kannika Thampanishvong
  • David Ulph

We analyse both theoretically and empirically, the factors that influence the amount of humanitarian aid which countries receive when they are struck by natural disasters. Our investigation particularly distinguishes between immediate disaster relief which helps the survival of victims and long term humanitarian aid given towards reconstruction and rehabilitation. The theoretical model is able to make predictions as well as explain some of the peculiarities in the empirical results. The empirical analysis, making use of some useful data sources, show that both short and long term humanitarian aid increase with number of people killed, financial loss and level of corruption, while GDP per capita has no effect. Number of people affected had no effect on short term aid, but significantly increased long term aid. Both types of aid increased if the natural disaster was an earthquake, tsunami or drought. In addition, short term aid increases in response to a flood while long term aid increases in response to storms.

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Paper provided by Centre for Research into Industry, Enterprise, Finance and the Firm in its series CRIEFF Discussion Papers with number 1202.

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Handle: RePEc:san:crieff:1202
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  1. J. Atsu Amegashie & Bazoumana Ouattara & Eric Strobl, 2007. "Moral Hazard and the Composition of Transfers: Theory with an Application to Foreign Aid," CESifo Working Paper Series 1996, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Eduardo A. Cavallo & Ilan Noy, 2009. "The Economics of Natural Disasters: A Survey," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 6779, Inter-American Development Bank.
  3. Toya, Hideki & Skidmore, Mark, 2007. "Economic development and the impacts of natural disasters," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 20-25, January.
  4. Raschky, Paul A. & Schwindt, Manijeh, 2009. "On the channel and type of international disaster aid," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4953, The World Bank.
  5. Thomas Eisensee & David Strömberg, 2007. "News Droughts, News Floods, and U.S. Disaster Relief," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 122(2), pages 693-728, 05.
  6. Ilan Noy, 2007. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Disasters," Working Papers 200707, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  7. Carter, Michael R. & Little, Peter D. & Mogues, Tewodaj & Negatu, Workneh, 2007. "Poverty Traps and Natural Disasters in Ethiopia and Honduras," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 835-856, May.
  8. Fink, Guenther & Redaelli, Silvia, 2009. "Determinants of international emergency aid - humanitarian need only ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4839, The World Bank.
  9. Loayza, Norman V. & Olaberría, Eduardo & Rigolini, Jamele & Christiaensen, Luc, 2012. "Natural Disasters and Growth: Going Beyond the Averages," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 40(7), pages 1317-1336.
  10. Christian R. Jaramillo H., 2009. "Do Natural Disasters Have Long-term Effects on Growth?," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 006647, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  11. Raddatz, Claudio, 2005. "Are external shocks responsible for the instability of output in low income countries?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3680, The World Bank.
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