Social, Not Physical, Infrastructure: The Critical Role of Civil Society in Disaster Recovery
41 Pages Posted: 25 Feb 2009
Date Written: February 25, 2009
Despite the tremendous destruction wrought by disasters and catastrophes around the world, we have few quantitative assessments of potential explanations for the rate of post-disaster recovery. This article lays out five hypotheses explaining variation in the pace of population recovery following disaster, with special attention paid to the popular but relatively untested factor of social capital. Using propensity score matching, I examine these approaches using new data from the recovery of Tokyo after its 1923 earthquake. The results uncover evidence that social capital, more than quake damage, population density, human capital, or economic capital, best predicts population recovery both in the short and long-term. This has important ramifications both for decision makers involved in disaster recovery efforts and for the role of strong civil society in critical public policy areas.
Keywords: disaster recovery, social capital, economic factors, Tokyo, 1923, earthquake
JEL Classification: P52 ,P17, N85, I31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation