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The determinants of household disaster preparedness behavior in Bangladesh

Recent literatures have widely portrayed natural disaster impacts on welfare and livelihoods. This literature largely focuses on loss of physical capital (e.g. asset, livestock, and crop), household income earning opportunities, coping strategies (including migration) and health outcomes. The aspects that are extremely less understood are the role of human capital (i.e. direct and indirect effects of education) and its impact on disaster risk reduction policies through adoption of disaster preparedness measures in lower and middle-income countries with high climatic risks. This study aims to add to the growing disaster-development literature by investigating the possible determinants of household disaster preparedness behavior particularly focusing on education pathways and prior damage and employment channels of disaster experience utilizing a unique comprehensive big disaster-related dataset in Bangladesh. Besides supply-side focus in disaster management and response, the demand-side aspects; disaster preparedness in particular, has also been highlighted in both National Plan for Disaster Management (NPDM) and SOD (Standing Order on Disaster) documents of the Bangladesh Government. The supply side focus of the government policies e.g. cyclone shelter, embankment construction etc. has been appreciated both nationally and internationally specially with respect to mortality reduction and minimizing loss and damages. However, there are extremely limited discussions on the effectiveness of the demand-side policies of the Government of Bangladesh (GOB) i.e. disaster preparedness measures demonstrating their impacts on disaster risk reduction in the medium to longer-term at the household level. 

Therefore, focusing on three key policy interventions i.e. existing early warning system, public awareness for preparedness and government disaster financial support; in this study, we ask: 

Does knowledge, perception, education or disaster experience influence household disaster preparedness behavior in Bangladesh? 


The overall goal of the study is to identify the directly observable determinants’ of household disaster preparedness behavior in Bangladesh. The objective of the study is:

i) To primarily examine the role of education (i.e. direct and indirect pathways), prior disaster experience (via disaster damage and labor market outcomes), disaster and climate change knowledge and perception and other potential determinants (e.g. income, age group, location, social capital etc.).

ii) It will further analyze the gendered impacts in adopting household preparedness measures for 12 types of natural disasters in Bangladesh. 

The study will primarily focus on the analytical framework developed by Hoffmann and Muttarak (2017) and will employ the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, BBS 2015 IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON HUMAN LIFE (ICCHL) SURVEY cross-sectional self-reported nationally representative big disaster-related dataset covering 143,980 households’ of disaster-affected regions across 64 districts of Bangladesh. The methodology involves a two-step procedure with development of three Disaster Preparedness Indices (DPI) and Climate Change and Disaster Management Knowledge and Perception Index (CCDMKPI) along with education, disaster experience and other socio-economic controls and estimation of Ordinary Least Square (OLS) regression for investigating the research question. Here, the a priori is education and disaster experience should positively influence the propensity to undertake disaster-specific preparedness measures at the household level exhibiting positive externalities of education on disaster risk reduction in the short to medium-longer term to enhance economic development at the macro level.

Study Time: The study will be conducted from October, 2019 till March, 2020.

Study Team: Dr. Azreen Karim (Team Leader)

Sponsor: BIDS Research Endowment Fund

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