The effects of decentralization on the production and use of risk assessment: Insights from landslide management in India and Italy

Sharma U, Scolobig A, & Patt A (2012). The effects of decentralization on the production and use of risk assessment: Insights from landslide management in India and Italy. Natural Hazards 64 (2): 1357-1371. DOI:10.1007/s11069-012-0300-8.

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Abstract

Landslides represent a major threat to human life, property and the environment. Landslide hazard and risk assessments seek to inform the policy and practice of landslide hazard risk management, for example, by identifying high-risk areas so that appropriate policy and private actions could be taken in terms of preventive and mitigative measures. We examine whether a decentralized risk assessment system leads to better assessment outcomes compared to a centralized risk assessment system. The paper is based on a comparative study of two countries India and Italy and their responses to landslide risk. Our results indicate a causal relationship between decentralization and three outcomes. First, decentralization appears to be conducive to the more rapid and more complete assessment of risks in local places, through mapping at an appropriate scale. Second, decentralization appears to foster greater and more transparent communication of risk assessment products, such as maps. Third, decentralization appears to lead to a more open, and at times contentious, public discourse over how to interpret and respond to the information contained in the risk assessments and maps. However, in practice, decentralization faces serious institutional resistance. Our analysis does not preclude other risk assessment outcomes or competing explanations for differences in risk assessment and management outcomes. Rather, it provides an understanding of the direction in which the institutional change may be driven for bringing about more effective risk assessments and their use.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Decentralization; Landslides; Risk assessment; Risk management
Research Programs: Risk, Policy and Vulnerability (RPV)
Postdoctoral Scholars (PDS)
Risk & Resilience (RISK)
Bibliographic Reference: Natural Hazards; 64(2):1357-1371 (November 2012) (Published online 11 August 2012)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:46
Last Modified: 04 Apr 2016 10:15
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/9911

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