Chapter 20: State capacity and vulnerability to natural disasters
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Many empirical studies have shown that government quality is a key determinant of vulnerability to natural disasters. Protection against natural disasters can be a public good--flood protection, for example - or a natural monopoly - early warning systems, for instance. Recovery from natural disasters is easier when the financial system is well-developed, particularly insurance services. This requires a strong legal and regulatory environment. This chapter reviews the empirical literature to find that government quality and democracy reduce vulnerability to natural disasters while corruption of public officials increases vulnerability. The chapter complements the literature by including tax revenue as an explanatory variable for vulnerability to natural disasters, and by modelling both the probability of natural disaster and the damage done. Countries with a larger public sector are better at preventing extreme events from doing harm. Countries that take more of their revenue in income taxes are better that reducing harm from natural disasters

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