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‘The law of storms': European and indigenous responses to natural disasters in colonial India, c. 1800–1850

Roy, Tirthankar (2010) ‘The law of storms': European and indigenous responses to natural disasters in colonial India, c. 1800–1850. Australian Economic History Review, 50 (1). pp. 6-22. ISSN 0004-8992

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-8446.2009.00269.x


Focusing on collective response to storms and floods in early colonial India, the paper explores obstacles to successful disaster response with one example related to meteorology of cyclones and the other the use of embankments. In both these examples, there was an attempt to build public-private partnerships, which succeeded in the case of weather prediction and failed in river embankment. The failure is explained by two factors. Coordination and contracting were costly when the private partners had variable capacities and interests. Furthermore, whereas meteorology predicted nature, embankments interfered with nature, an intervention which carried social and economic costs.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2010 The Author
Divisions: Economic History
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
JEL classification: N - Economic History > N1 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Growth and Fluctuations > N15 - Asia including Middle East
Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics > Q5 - Environmental Economics > Q54 - Climate; Natural Disasters
N - Economic History > N5 - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment, and Extractive Industries > N55 - Asia including Middle East
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 16:55
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 01:01

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