. 10/2020. “
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 U.S. in the recent decade, we empirically identify and quantify the causal effect of natural disasters on prosocial and antisocial behavioral reactions. 2020-berrebi-karlinsky-yonah-nhazd.pdf
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.