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The poverty–vulnerability–resilience nexus: Evidence from Bangladesh

Sonia Akter () and Bishawjit Mallick

Ecological Economics, 2013, vol. 96, issue C, 114-124

Abstract: Vulnerability and resilience lie at the core of the new paradigm governing natural disaster risk management frameworks. However, empirical understandings of socio-economic resilience and its links with poverty and vulnerability are limited. This paper presents an empirical investigation of socio-economic resilience to natural disasters in a tropical cyclone-prone coastal community in Bangladesh. The results indicate that the cyclone in question had negative impacts on the community, particularly in terms of income, employment and access to clean water and sanitation. Consistent with the findings of the social vulnerability literature, our results also suggest that the poor were more vulnerable and suffered significantly higher economic, physical and structural damage. However, this high vulnerability did not necessarily lead to low resilience, as these individuals exhibited a greater ability to withstand the shock compared to their non-poor neighbors. This refutes the flip-side hypothesis of the link between vulnerability and resilience (i.e. vulnerability is the flip side of resilience). The findings imply that the increased risk of tropical cyclones is likely to reduce incomes and standards of living among the tropical coastal communities. However, the burden of these adverse impacts is unlikely to be disproportionally borne by the poorer segment of the society.

Keywords: State-and-transition model; Poverty; Socio-economic vulnerability; Socio-economic resilience; Natural disasters; Tropical cyclone; Bangladesh; Adaptive capacity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2013.10.008

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