How Natural Hazards Impact the Social Environment for Vulnerable Groups: An Empirical Investigation in Japan

22 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2020

See all articles by Maoxin Ye

Maoxin Ye

Tohoku University

Daniel P. Aldrich

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

Date Written: February 3, 2020

Abstract

Much research has demonstrated that vulnerable people fare more poorly than non vulnerable ones in disasters and crises across a variety of outcomes – including mental and physical health, disaster aid received, re-housing processes, and overall satisfaction with recovery. But little is known about how natural disasters change the social and political environment for those vulnerable groups. Some have argued that natural disasters raise the consciousness of civil society and decision makers so that conditions improve for vulnerable groups, while others believe that disasters have little or even negative impact on their status in society. This paper uses a new panel dataset across 17 years (1999 through 2015) of Japan’s 47 prefectures to investigate how disasters impact discrimination rates for vulnerable groups, including women, the elderly, foreigners, and those with disabilities. Controlling for demographic and social factors we find that disasters actually reduce discrimination against certain vulnerable groups – especially women and the elderly – while having no measurable impact on discrimination against other groups – foreigners and the disabled. These results bring with them important policy recommendations for local residents, disaster managers, and decision makers.

Keywords: vulnerable groups, vulnerability, disaster, Japan, quantitative analysis

JEL Classification: C31, H12

Suggested Citation

Ye, Maoxin and Aldrich, Daniel P., How Natural Hazards Impact the Social Environment for Vulnerable Groups: An Empirical Investigation in Japan (February 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3531149 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3531149

Maoxin Ye

Tohoku University ( email )

SKK Building, Katahira 2
Aoba-ku, Sendai, Miyagi 980-8577
Japan

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

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