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Density and disasters: economics of urban hazard risk


  • Lall, Somik V.
  • Deichmann, Uwe


Today, 370 million people live in cities in earthquake prone areas and 310 million in cities with high probability of tropical cyclones. By 2050, these numbers are likely to more than double. Mortality risk therefore is highly concentrated in many of the world’s cities and economic risk even more so. This paper discusses what sets hazard risk in urban areas apart, provides estimates of valuation of hazard risk, and discusses implications for individual mitigation and public policy. The main conclusions are that urban agglomeration economies change the cost-benefit calculation of hazard mitigation, that good hazard management is first and foremost good general urban management, and that the public sector must perform better in generating and disseminating credible information on hazard risk in cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Lall, Somik V. & Deichmann, Uwe, 2009. "Density and disasters: economics of urban hazard risk," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5161, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5161

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    Cited by:

    1. Kousky, Carolyn, 2012. "Informing Climate Adaptation: A Review of the Economic Costs of Natural Disasters, Their Determinants, and Risk Reduction Options," Discussion Papers dp-12-28, Resources For the Future.
    2. Fatima Shah & Federica Ranghieri, 2012. "A Workbook on Planning for Urban Resilience in the Face of Disasters : Adapting Experiences from Vietnam’s Cities to Other Cities," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2235.
    3. Stéphane Hallegatte, 2012. "An exploration of the link between development, economic growth, and natural risk," Post-Print hal-00802047, HAL.
    4. repec:wbk:wbpubs:15790 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Hallegatte,Stephane & Bangalore,Mook & Jouanjean,Marie Agnes, 2016. "Higher losses and slower development in the absence of disaster risk management investments," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7632, The World Bank.

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    Banks&Banking Reform; Environmental Economics&Policies; Hazard Risk Management; Urban Housing; Labor Policies;

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