We estimate the causal effect of the Indian Ocean tsunami in Sri Lanka on household income and consumption eight years after the event, using a quasi-experimental method. A strong association between area-wide tsunami disaster shock and increases in household income and consumption in the long-term emerged from our empirical investigation. Deviating from the common observation on short-term impacts, these results are suggestive of an optimistic potential for some long-lasting potentially successful recovery scenarios. Still, Sri Lanka received a very large amount of external transfers post-tsunami, much larger than is typical for disaster events and one which may not be replicable in other cases. Our findings suggest a more nuanced picture with respect to household consumption impacts. We observe a reduction of food consumption and only find an increase in non-food consumption. The increase in non-food consumption is much smaller than the observed increase in income. We also find that households in high-income regions experienced much better recovery from the disaster.
Sri Lanka tsunami disaster household survey long-run impact