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The Political Economy of ``Natural'' Disasters

Charles Cohen and Eric D. Werker
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Charles Cohen: Vice President Sankaty Advisors
Eric D. Werker: Harvard Business School Harvard University

Journal of Conflict Resolution, 2008, vol. 52, issue 6, 795-819

Abstract: Natural disasters occur in a political space. Although events beyond our control may trigger a disaster, the level of government preparedness and response greatly determines the extent of suffering incurred by the affected population. The authors use a political-economy model of disaster prevention, supported by case studies and preliminary empirics, to explain why some governments prepare well for disasters and others do not. The authors show how the presence of international aid distorts this choice and increases the chance that governments will underinvest. Policy suggestions that may alleviate this problem are discussed.

Keywords: natural disasters; humanitarian aid; Samaritan's dilemma (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:sae:jocore:v:52:y:2008:i:6:p:795-819