We examine the extent to which economic development reduces both a country’s disaster risk and its social vulnerability to climate-related disasters. Using data from the EM-DAT database representing country-level observations over the period 1980-2007, we find that economic development significantly reduces a country’s vulnerability to climate-related disasters, especially after controlling for conflating factors contributing to improved disaster reporting, though we demonstrate that the effect of development varies by disaster type.  Additionally, we find that, conditional on a disaster occurring, economic development and adaptive capacity generally reduce a country’s social vulnerability  to such disasters, framed in terms of the social impact of disasters on a society. We additionally demonstrate the effects of various socio-economic structures in augmenting a country’s social vulnerability to climate-related disasters.

This seminar has been jointly organized by FEEM and ICCG (International Center for Climate Governance)