The Political Economy of Natural Disasters: A Qualitative Comparative Analysis of Disaster Capitalism

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 14:15
Location: Hörsaal 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Danielle VESIA, University of California, Irvine, USA
Disaster capitalism theory suggests that natural disasters can be exploited by global capitalist economic interests to induce nations to liberalize their economies through neoliberal policy. This paper bridges this burgeoning field with the sociological literature on global development to first ask the question of whether there is empirical support for this disaster capitalism theory. Finding cases where this phenomenon does exist, the paper then asks under what political and economic conditions are these neoliberal policy outcomes most likely to occur. Using a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative approach, the finding of this study indicate that a nation’s level of democracy mediates the likelihood of receiving multilateral aid in the wake of a disaster, but nations that do experience large increases in multilateral aid are likely to experience increased trade openness regardless of level of democracy or of development. In essence, multilateral aid plays a critical role in determining economic policy outcomes following a disaster.