Individual and community behavioral responses to natural disasters

Claude Berrebi*, Ariel Karlinsky, Hanan Yonah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


How do people and communities respond to catastrophes? A natural disaster is a type of external, quasi-random and unexpected catastrophic shock that generates psychological, social and economic implications. Using detailed county level administrative data of charitable contributions, crime and natural hazards in the USA in the recent decade, we empirically identify and quantify the causal effect of natural disasters on prosocial and antisocial behavioral reactions. Our main finding is that while monetary contributions decline in the local affected community in the aftermath of natural disasters, the neighboring and more distant communities react by increasing their charitable giving. Additionally, we find that in the affected community, natural disasters effect crime negatively, dispelling popular conceptions regarding looting, and that while federal assistance crowds out charitable contributions, it does not change the residents reaction to natural disasters.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1541-1569
Number of pages29
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, Springer Nature B.V.


  • Antisocial behavior
  • Charitable giving
  • Crime
  • Natural disasters
  • Natural hazards
  • Panel data
  • Philanthropy
  • Prosocial behavior
  • United States


Dive into the research topics of 'Individual and community behavioral responses to natural disasters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this