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Earthquake Propensity and the Politics of Mortality Prevention

40 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016  

Philip Keefer

Inter-American Development Bank

Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)

Thomas Plumper

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 1, 2010

Abstract

Governments can significantly reduce earthquake mortality by implementing and enforcing quake-proof construction regulation. The authors examine why many governments do not. Contrary to intuition, controlling for the strength and location of actual earthquakes, mortality is lower in countries with higher earthquake propensity, where the payoffs to mortality prevention are higher. Importantly, however, the government response to earthquake propensity depends on country income and the political incentives of governments to provide public goods to citizens. The opportunity costs of earthquake mortality prevention are higher in poorer countries; rich countries invest more in mortality prevention than poor countries in response to a higher earthquake propensity. Similarly, governments that have fewer incentives to provide public goods, such as younger democracies, autocracies with less institutionalized ruling parties and countries with corrupt regimes, respond less to an elevated quake propensity. They therefore have higher mortality at any level of quake propensity compared to older democracies, autocracies with highly institutionalized parties and non-corrupt regimes, respectively. The authors find robust evidence for these predictions in our analysis of earthquake mortality over the period 1960 to 2005.

Keywords: Population Policies, Natural Disasters, Hazard Risk Management, Labor Policies, Disaster Management

Suggested Citation

Keefer, Philip and Neumayer, Eric and Plumper, Thomas, Earthquake Propensity and the Politics of Mortality Prevention (January 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5182. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1539868

Philip Keefer (Contact Author)

Inter-American Development Bank ( email )

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Eric Neumayer

London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ( email )

Houghton Street
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United Kingdom
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+44 207 955 7412 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://personal.lse.ac.uk/neumayer

Thomas Plumper

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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