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Technological innovation, social learning and natural hazard mitigation: evidence on earthquake fatalities

  • Qing Miao (a1)

Abstract

How do people learn from disasters? Do they constantly develop and accumulate new knowledge that enables them to address recurrent disaster risks? This paper investigates whether social learning and, in particular, the development of earthquake-mitigating technologies reduces earthquake-induced fatalities. Combining patent data with a global cross-section of 894 earthquakes that occurred between 1980 and 2010, we find that countries with more disaster-mitigating innovations and more earthquake exposure in the past suffer fewer fatalities. This study is the first to empirically examine the role of technological change and social learning in disaster mitigation. It sheds light on knowledge as a key element of adaptive capacity, and suggests the importance of incorporating technology development into a long-term hazard mitigation and adaptation policy. The paper also contributes to the empirical disaster literature as the first to address the problem of missing data on disaster losses.

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References

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Technological innovation, social learning and natural hazard mitigation: evidence on earthquake fatalities

  • Qing Miao (a1)

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