Friday, March 11, 2011

DEMOCRACY, GDP AND NATURAL DISASTERS


Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1998 with the observation that there has never been a famine in a nation that has a democratic form of government and a free press. A similar relationship exists for natural disasters: Deaths associated with natural disasters are lower for nations with democratic forms of government and the associated higher national income, or Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In general, the World Bank’s Democracy Index, a measure of how strong a democracy is, and a nation’s GDP are stronger predictors of a natural disaster’s humanitarian impact (as measured by deaths) than either the size of the event or the population density in the area of the disaster. Global increases in democracy and GDP may therefore partially explain the apparent paradox of the generally decreasing death toll associated with natural disasters despite the increased population density in high-risk areas.
DEMOCRACY, GDP AND NATURAL DISASTERS

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