The E-axes Forum on Climate Change, Macroeconomics, and Finance

Stephane Hallegatte

“The real economic impact of natural disasters: accounting for distributional impacts and implications for poverty”

Event description

The impact of a disaster on a country or a community is often measured using one aggregate metric: the total cost of the physical damages. While relevant to estimate financial needs for the reconstruction, this single number hardly represents the impact on the poorest people and households, who suffer disproportionally from disaster but, because they own very little, experience little financial damages.

Stephane Hallegatte, during his presentation, proposed a different approach to measure the severity of disasters, one based on microsimulations in which disaster impacts are represented at the household level. Hallegatte used examples from multiple countries and disasters to illustrate the results and their policy implications. He showed how better accounting for distributional and poverty impacts affects (and improves) spatial prioritization of interventions (where to invest?) as well as the sectoral prioritization of interventions (in which sector to invest?).

Stephane Hallegatte

Stéphane Hallegatte is the lead economist of the World Bank Climate Change Group. He was a lead author of the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Mr. Hallegatte is the author of dozens of academic articles, as well as several books and World Bank reports including Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty. He also led the writing team of the Stern-Stiglitz High-Level Commission on Carbon Prices. In 2018, he received the Burtoni Award for his work on the link between climate change adaptation and poverty reduction. Mr. Hallegatte holds an engineering degree from the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris) and a Ph.D in economics from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris).

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"The real economic impact of natural disasters: accounting for distributional impacts and implications for poverty" (slides)

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