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Can natural disasters have positive consequences? Investigating the role of embodied technical change

Abstract : It has been suggested that disasters might have positive economic consequences, through the accelerated replacement of capital. This possibility is referred to as the productivity effect. This effect is investigated using a model with embodied technical change. in this framework, disasters can influence the production level but cannot influence the growth rate, in the same way than the saving ratio in a Solow-like model. Depending on reconstruction quality, indeed, accounting for embodied technical change can either decrease or increase disaster costs, but is never able to turn disasters into positive events. Moreover, a better but slower reconstruction amplifies the short-term consequences of disasters, but pays off over the long-term. Regardless, the productivity effect cannot prevent the existence of a bifurcation when disaster damages exceed the reconstruction capacity, potentially leading to poverty traps. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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Stéphane Hallegatte, Patrice Dumas. Can natural disasters have positive consequences? Investigating the role of embodied technical change. Ecological Economics, Elsevier, 2009, 68 (3), pp.777-786. ⟨10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.06.011⟩. ⟨hal-00719266⟩

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