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Natural disasters and participation in volunteer activities: A case study of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake.

Yamamura, Eiji (2012): Natural disasters and participation in volunteer activities: A case study of the Great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake.

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Abstract

The Great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake in 1995 has had a significant detrimental effect on the economic conditions of southern-central Japan. However, the earthquake also led people to acknowledge the importance of the many volunteer activities in Japan at that time. Using a large sample of individual-level data from 1991 and 1996, this study investigates how and the extent to which the earthquake increased the participation of students and house-workers in volunteer activities. After controlling for various individual characteristics, a Heckman-Tobit model was used and the following key findings were obtained: (1) the probability of students’ participating in volunteer activities was 2% higher after the earthquake than before, and (2) the number of days that students spent participating in volunteer activities was 4.38 days longer after the earthquake than before. However, the same did not hold true for house-workers.

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