Articles | Volume 15, issue 4
Research article
13 Apr 2015
Research article |  | 13 Apr 2015

The structure of disaster resilience: a framework for simulations and policy recommendations

J. H. Y. Edwards

Abstract. In this era of rapid climate change there is an urgent need for interdisciplinary collaboration and understanding in the study of what determines resistance to disasters and recovery speed. This paper is an economist's contribution to that effort. It traces the entrance of the word "resilience" from ecology into the social science literature on disasters, provides a formal economic definition of resilience that can be used in mathematical modeling, incorporates this definition into a multilevel model that suggests appropriate policy roles and targets at each level, and draws on the recent empirical literature on the economics of disaster, searching for policy handles that can stimulate higher resilience. On the whole it provides a framework for simulations and for formulating disaster resilience policies.

Short summary
Resilience to disaster is best understood as a multilevel process that involves individuals, families, NGOs, the private sector, and several layers of government. I describe this system, model it, and point out that it is currently uncoordinated. I then scour the literature on the economics of disaster for evidence of what works. I end by proposing a coordinated multilayer world system for disaster resilience and illustrate how it might work with examples of financial resilience to disaster.
Final-revised paper