chapter  1
Natural Hazards
WithRisa Palm
Pages 14

This chapter presents the studies that focus on one specific lens through which one can view the response of individuals and households to earthquake hazard: the decision by homeowners to purchase earthquake insurance. Survey research has explored the relationship between environmental response and a long series of empirical factors. Among the factors linked with the response of Americans to environmental uncertainties are equity position in the house, income level, age, gender, objective geophysical risk, and prior experience with the hazard. Ancient Chinese cosmology suggested that natural disasters were caused by bad government or a loss of virtue by the state, providing impetus for the government to minimize disaster impacts in order to maintain the appearance of harmony between the ruling order and nature. An important insight that a post-modern perspective lends to the study of natural hazards is its tendency to emphasize process within the local area.