ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly – Diplomacy of Disasters and Bilateral Relations 1900-2000

Carmela Lutmar
University of Haifa
Carmela Lutmar
University of Haifa
Open Panel

Abstract

Recent research in international relations has been exploring the connections between natural disasters and international conflict. One set of literature has found that, by increasing resource scarcity and competition among domestic groups, natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis can increase significantly the risk of intrastate conflict in those states affected by disaster. A related set of research has shown that the same disasters can in fact open up space for increased diplomacy and peaceful relations among former rivals (Kelman 2006; Kelman et al 2008) ‘Disaster diplomacy’ in this work is a positive consequence/result/outcome of serious natural disasters. This paper explores whether natural disasters can indeed lead to an improvement in interstate bilateral relations through an analysis of a data set that includes all major earthquakes, floods, storms, and tsunamis between 1900 and 2005, and finds that serious disasters increase the likelihood that bilateral relations between former rivals will improve (measured in bilateral trade and diplomatic relations), and this finding supports the developing literature in international relations on ‘disaster diplomacy’. It is the first study to the best of my knowledge to offer a large-N empirical test of this fast growing literature that so far has been focusing on analyses of comparative case studies and content analysis.