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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.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5161.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2009
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5161
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