Reducing Disaster Risks through Education: Exploring the Mechanisms in Southeast Asia Using a Dynamic Household Model

Michael Freiberger, Vienna University of Technology
Roman Hoffmann , Vienna Institute of Demography, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Alexia Fuernkranz-Prskawetz, Vienna University of Technology

In the past decades, the world has witnessed a substantial increase in the number of natural disasters imposing severe threats to human livelihoods. Scholars and policy makers have emphasized the important role of education and learning to strengthen preparedness and mitigating disaster risks. Despite this, we lack a theoretical and empirical understanding of why and how education can have a positive impact on resilience. Based on the empirical literature, we propose a dynamic household model, which distinguishes direct and indirect theoretical channels through which education effects operate. We test the model predictions using original survey data from two countries in Southeast Asia, the Philippines and Thailand, which belong to one of the most disaster-prone regions in the world. As predicted by the model, education is found to substantially reduce disaster risks, mainly by improving access to financial resources and by raising household members’ awareness. Based on representative data for the two countries, we run simulations to further illustrate the insights from our theoretical model and to highlight the implications of our findings on the role of education in disaster risk reduction. The simulations also showcase the applicability of the model in predicting household behavior in the future under different scenarios.

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 Presented in Session P999. Development, Environment and Space