This paper examines the effect of a country’s own past disaster experiences and nearby countries’ past experiences on subsequent disaster damage. We use global disaster data from 1990 to 2010, which include disaster-related death tolls for both natural and technological disasters that are further divided into sub-categories. Overall, we find evidence of a reduction effect of past disaster damage on future disaster damage. More detailed analyses show that an adaptation effect seems to be present for certain combinations of disaster types and levels of economic development. The results show that a country’s own experiences reduce future damage for natural disasters but that the marginal effect is larger for lower-income countries. On the other hand, for technological disasters, a robust impact of experiences was found only in higher-income countries. In terms of the disaster experiences of nearby countries, the adaptation effect was found only for natural disasters, and the marginal impact was relatively higher for higher-income countries.
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