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Are We Adapting to Floods? Evidence from Global Flooding Fatalities

Qing Miao

Risk Analysis, 2019, vol. 39, issue 6, 1298-1313

Abstract: There has been a growing interest in understanding whether and how people adapt to extreme weather events in a changing climate. This article presents one of the first empirical analyses of adaptation to flooding on a global scale. Using a sample of 97 countries between 1985 and 2010, we investigate the extent and pattern of flood adaptation by estimating the effects of a country's climatological risk, recent flood experiences, and socioeconomic characteristics on its flood‐related fatalities. Our results provide mixed evidence on adaptation: countries facing greater long‐term climatological flooding risks do not necessarily adapt better and suffer fewer fatalities; however, after controlling for the cross‐country heterogeneity, we find that more recent flooding shocks have a significant and negative effect on fatalities from subsequent floods. These findings may suggest the short‐term learning dynamics of adaptation and potential inefficacy of earlier flood control measures, particularly those that promote increased exposure in floodplains. Our findings provide important implications for climate adaptation policy making and climate modeling.

Date: 2019
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:wly:riskan:v:39:y:2019:i:6:p:1298-1313

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