The Physical and Social Determinants of Mortality in the 3.11 Tsunami

31 Pages Posted: 8 Apr 2014

See all articles by Daniel P. Aldrich

Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program

Yasuyuki Sawada

University of Tokyo; Asian Development Bank - Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department (ERCD)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 7, 2014

Abstract

The human consequences of the 3.11 tsunami were not distributed equally across the municipalities of the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan. Instead, the mortality rate from the massive wave varied tremendously from zero to close to ten percent of the local residential population. What accounts for this variation remains a critical question for researchers and policy makers alike. This paper uses a new, sui generis data set including all villages, towns, and cities on the Pacific Ocean side of the Tohoku region to untangle the factors connected to mortality during the disaster. With data on demographic, geophysical, infrastructure, social capital, and political conditions for 133 municipalities, we find that tsunami height, stocks of social capital, and demographic conditions strongly influenced mortality rates. Given the high probability of future large scale catastrophes, these findings have important policy implications for disaster mitigation policies in Japan and abroad.

Keywords: natural disasters, tsunami, mortality, social capital, quantitative, Japan

Suggested Citation

Aldrich, Daniel P. and Sawada, Yasuyuki, The Physical and Social Determinants of Mortality in the 3.11 Tsunami (April 7, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2421779 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2421779

Daniel P. Aldrich (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Yasuyuki Sawada

University of Tokyo ( email )

Yayoi 1-1-1
Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8657
Japan

Asian Development Bank - Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department (ERCD) ( email )

Philippines

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