Title: The role of social inequalities for the vulnerability to climate related extreme weather events
Authors: NEHER FRANKMIOLA Apollonia
Publisher: Publications Office of the European Union
Publication Year: 2015
JRC N°: JRC99685
ISBN: 978-92-79-54243-5
ISSN: 1831-9424
Other Identifiers: EUR 27678
OP LB-NA-27678-EN-N
URI: http://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC99685
DOI: 10.2788/267540
Type: EUR - Scientific and Technical Research Reports
Abstract: This report analyses the differential impact of extreme weather events in the presence of social inequalities. It hypothesizes that social inequalities affect vulnerability and resilience through its impact on the capacity to cope and empirically analyses the differential impact of extreme weather events in the presence of social inequalities. To sidestep the methodological difficulties of quantifying vulnerability or resilience, the relation between different inequalities and disaster fatalities are established. The death toll from a given disaster is a function of hazard, exposure and vulnerability and everything else constant, more casualties imply higher levels of vulnerability. The results establish that countries with more equality in gender issues and the distribution of incomes on average face lower fatalities when climate related extreme weather events strike. While this holds for all measures of the income distribution employed, for gender equality this relation can be established for some but not for all proxies used to measure the phenomenon. The relation is valid and robust for female to male enrolment ratios in secondary education, female labour force participation and to some degree for female members of parliament. A statistical relation between more gender and/or income equality associated with a reduction in the probability of high numbers of disaster fatalities provides indirect evidence for a reduction in vulnerability. But what is the underlying mechanism, i.e. why should inequality increase vulnerability or decrease system resilience? The report proposes a sketch of a theory as input for future research, relating inequality to trust and cooperation as important building blocks for societies’ capacity to cope and resilience.
JRC Directorate:Sustainable Resources

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