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Enterprise recovery following natural disasters

  • de Mel, Suresh
  • McKenzie, David
  • Woodruff, Christopher

Using data from surveys of enterprises in Sri Lanka after the December 2004 tsunami, the authors undertake the first microeconomic study of the recovery of the private firmsin a developing country following a major natural disaster. Disaster recovery in low-income countries is characterized by the prevalence of relief aid rather than of insurance payments; the data show this distinction has important consequences. The data indicate that aid provided directly to households correlates reasonably well with reported losses of household assets, but is uncorrelated with reported losses of business assets. Business recovery is found to be slower than commonly assumed, with disaster-affected enterprises lagging behind unaffected comparable firms more than three years after the disaster. Using data from random cash grants provided by the project, the paper shows that direct aid is more important in the recovery of enterprises operating in the retail sector than for those operating in the manufacturing and service sectors.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 5269.

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Date of creation: 01 Apr 2010
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:5269
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