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The Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters$
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Debarati Guha-Sapir and Indhira Santos

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199841936

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199841936.001.0001

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The Economic Impact of Earthquakes on Households

The Economic Impact of Earthquakes on Households

Evidence From Japan

(p.250) 11 The Economic Impact of Earthquakes on Households
The Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters

Yasuyuki Sawada

Oxford University Press

Japan is vulnerable to a wide variety of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, floods, landslides and avalanches. Of these natural disasters, earthquakes are the most serious and frequently occurring. In this chapter, after reviewing the two contrasting cases of the Kobe and Chuetsu earthquakes, we discuss the role of public policy in facilitating risk management at the household level in the case of natural disasters. The Kobe earthquake hit the urban centre, where industries and residence are densely located, while the Chuetsu earthquake occurred in mountainous and remote farming areas. A comparison of Kobe and Chuetsu earthquakes shows differences in income, consumption, and other household level socio-economic variables that help us to identify the effectiveness of formal and informal insurance mechanisms.

Keywords:   Natural disasters, earthquakes in Japan, earthquake insurance, consumption insurance, risk-management strategies, risk-coping strategies, formal and informal insurance mechanisms, the Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake, the Chuetsu earthquake

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