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Natural Disaster Risk and the Distributional Dynamics of Damages

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EMbeDS researchers Matteo Coronese, Francesco Lamperti, Francesca Chiaromonte and Andrea Roventini just released a working paper titled Natural Disaster Risk and the Distributional Dynamics of Damages, investigating the evolution of economic impacts related to natural disasters. Rising trends in natural disaster damages can be interpreted as evidence of on-going climate change effects. Detecting such trends is critical from a policy perspective, as it highlights the need for urgent and non-deferrable adaptation and mitigation measures.

Since major disasters are seldom, their contribution to overall damages from natural hazard is often underestimated by standard regression tools – which capture mean trends. Focusing on the right tail of the damage distribution, the study documents an increase in economic impacts: rare and extreme damages, possibly related to climate change, are growing over time.

The dynamic graphics below visualizes extreme natural events from 1960 to 2014, as reported in the EM-DAT International disaster database of the Catholic University of Louvain (Brussels, Belgium). See Guha-Sapir, Below and Hoyois (2015). This data was also utilized in the current study.