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Keywords:

  • D12;
  • D91;
  • E21
  • natural disasters;
  • risk sharing;
  • risk-coping strategies

This paper investigates the coping strategies employed by victims of the Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake in 1995. Using a unique household data set, we show that households that held a large amount of collateralizable assets before the catastrophe and were free from a binding borrowing constraint were able to maintain their consumption levels by borrowing. In contrast, households subject to a binding borrowing constraint before the disaster were unable to borrow to cope with the losses inflicted by the earthquake. On the other hand, both types of households relied on private transfers, depending on the extent of the damage.