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CRIEFF Discussion Paper Number 1202

Saving and Re-building Lives: an Analysis of the Determinants of Disaster Relief

Geethanjali Selvaretnam (University of St Andrews); Kannika Thampanishvong (Thailand Development Research Institute); David Ulph (University of St Andrews)

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We analyse both theoretically and empirically, the factors that influence the amount of humanitarian aid which countries receive when they are struck by natural disasters. Our investigation particularly distinguishes between immediate disaster relief which helps the survival of victims and long term humanitarian aid given towards reconstruction and rehabilitation. The theoretical model is able to make predictions as well as explain some of the peculiarities in the empirical results. The empirical analysis, making use of some useful data sources, show that both short and long term humanitarian aid increase with number of people killed, financial loss and level of corruption, while GDP per capita has no effect. Number of people affected had no effect on short term aid, but significantly increased long term aid. Both types of aid increased if the natural disaster was an earthquake, tsunami or drought. In addition, short term aid increases in response to a flood while long term aid increases in response to storms.

JEL codes: C01, O12, Q54

Keywords: Humanitarian aid, disaster relief, natural disaster

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