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Fields of Specialization
Green growth, Climate change, Urban development
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated September 13, 2023
Stéphane Hallegatte is a Senior Climate Change Adviser at the World Bank. He joined the World Bank in 2012 after 10 years of academic research in environmental economics and climate science for Météo-France, the Centre International de Recherche sur l’Environnement et le Développement, and Stanford University. His research interests include the economics of natural disasters and risk management, climate change adaptation, urban policy and economics, climate change mitigation, and green growth. Mr. Hallegatte was a lead author of the 5th Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He is the author of dozens of articles published in international journals in multiple disciplines and of several books, including Green Economy and the Crisis: 30 Proposals for a More Sustainable France , Risk Management: Lessons from the Storm Xynthia , and Natural Disasters and Climate Change: An Economic Perspective . He also co-led the World Bank reports Inclusive Green Growth: The Pathway to Sustainable Development , published in 2012 and Decarbonizing Development in 2015, and was member of the core writing team of the 2014 World Development Report Risk and Opportunity: Managing Risks for Development . Most recently, he led the World Bank reports Shock Waves: Managing the Impacts of Climate Change on Poverty , Unbreakable: Building the Resilience of the Poor in the Face of Natural Disasters , and Lifelines: the Resilient Infrastructure Opportunity. He was the team leader for the World Bank Group Climate Change Action Plan, a large internal coordination exercise to determine and explain how the Group will support countries in their implementation of the Paris Agreement. Mr. Hallegatte holds engineering degrees from the Ecole Polytechnique (Paris) and the Ecole Nationale de la Météorologie (Toulouse), a master's degree in meteorology and climatology from the Université Paul Sabatier (Toulouse) and a Ph.D in economics from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris).
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 15
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-01) Walsh, Brian ; Hallegatte, StephaneTraditional risk assessments use asset losses as the main metric to measure the severity of a disaster. This paper proposes an expanded risk assessment based on a framework that adds socioeconomic resilience and uses wellbeing losses as its main measure of disaster severity. Using a new, agent-based model that represents explicitly the recovery and reconstruction process at the household level, this risk assessment provides new insights into disaster risks in the Philippines. First, there is a close link between natural disasters and poverty. On average, the estimates suggest that almost half a million Filipinos per year face transient consumption poverty due to natural disasters. Nationally, the bottom income quintile suffers only 9 percent of the total asset losses, but 31 percent of the total wellbeing losses. The average annual wellbeing losses due to disasters in the Philippines is estimated at US$3.9 billion per year, more than double the asset losses of US$1.4 billion. Second, the regions identified as priorities for risk-management interventions differ depending on which risk metric is used. Cost-benefit analyses based on asset losses direct risk reduction investments toward the richest regions and areas. A focus on poverty or wellbeing rebalances the analysis and generates a different set of regional priorities. Finally, measuring disaster impacts through poverty and wellbeing impacts allows the quantification of the benefits from interventions like rapid post-disaster support and adaptive social protection. Although these measures do not reduce asset losses, they efficiently reduce their consequences for wellbeing by making the population more resilient.
Publication(World Bank Group, Washington, DC, 2014-11) Hallegatte, Stephane ; Bangalore, Mook ; Bonzanigo, Laura ; Fay, Marianne ; Narloch, Ulf ; Rozenberg, Julie ; Vogt-Schilb, AdrienClimate change and climate policies will affect poverty reduction efforts through direct and immediate impacts on the poor and by affecting factors that condition poverty reduction, such as economic growth. This paper explores this relation between climate change and policies and poverty outcomes by examining three questions: the (static) impact on poor people's livelihood and well-being; the impact on the risk for non-poor individuals to fall into poverty; and the impact on the ability of poor people to escape poverty. The paper proposes four channels that determine household consumption and through which households may escape or fall into poverty (prices, assets, productivity, and opportunities). It then discusses whether and how these channels are affected by climate change and climate policies, focusing on the exposure, vulnerability, and ability to adapt of the poor (and those vulnerable to poverty). It reviews the existing literature and offers three major conclusions. First, climate change is likely to represent a major obstacle to a sustained eradication of poverty. Second, climate policies are compatible with poverty reduction provided that (i) poverty concerns are carefully taken into account in their design and (ii) they are accompanied by the appropriate set of social policies. Third, climate change does not modify how poverty policies should be designed, but it creates greater needs and more urgency. The scale issue is explained by the fact that climate will cause more frequent and more severe shocks; the urgency, by the need to exploit the window of opportunity given to us before climate impacts are likely to substantially increase.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-05) Hallegatte, Stephane ; Bangalore, Mook ; Vogt-Schilb, AdrienThis paper presents a model to assess the socioeconomic resilience to natural disasters of an economy, defined as its capacity to mitigate the impact of disaster-related asset losses on welfare, and a tool to help decision makers identify the most promising policy options to reduce welfare losses due to floods. Calibrated with household surveys, the model suggests that welfare losses from the July 2005 floods in Mumbai were almost double the asset losses, because losses were concentrated on poor and vulnerable populations. Applied to river floods in 90 countries, the model provides estimates of country-level socioeconomic resilience. Because floods disproportionally affect poor people, each $1 of global flood asset loss is equivalent to a $1.6 reduction in the affected country's national income, on average. The model also assesses and ranks policy levers to reduce flood losses in each country. It shows that considering asset losses is insufficient to assess disaster risk management policies. The same reduction in asset losses results in different welfare gains depending on who benefits. And some policies, such as adaptive social protection, do not reduce asset losses, but still reduce welfare losses. Asset and welfare losses can even move in opposite directions: increasing by one percentage point the share of income of the bottom 20 percent in the 90 countries would increase asset losses by 0.6 percent, since more wealth would be at risk. But it would also reduce the impact of income losses on wellbeing, and ultimately reduce welfare losses by 3.4 percent.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017) Hallegatte, Stephane ; Vogt-Schilb, Adrien ; Bangalore, Mook ; Rozenberg, Julie“Economic losses from natural disasters totaled $92 billion in 2015.” Such statements, all too commonplace, assess the severity of disasters by no other measure than the damage inflicted on buildings, infrastructure, and agricultural production. But $1 in losses does not mean the same thing to a rich person that it does to a poor person; the gravity of a $92 billion loss depends on who experiences it. By focusing on aggregate losses—the traditional approach to disaster risk—we restrict our consideration to how disasters affect those wealthy enough to have assets to lose in the first place, and largely ignore the plight of poor people. This report moves beyond asset and production losses and shifts its attention to how natural disasters affect people’s well-being. Disasters are far greater threats to well-being than traditional estimates suggest. This approach provides a more nuanced view of natural disasters than usual reporting, and a perspective that takes fuller account of poor people’s vulnerabilities. Poor people suffer only a fraction of economic losses caused by disasters, but they bear the brunt of their consequences. Understanding the disproportionate vulnerability of poor people also makes the case for setting new intervention priorities to lessen the impact of natural disasters on the world’s poor, such as expanding financial inclusion, disaster risk and health insurance, social protection and adaptive safety nets, contingent finance and reserve funds, and universal access to early warning systems. Efforts to reduce disaster risk and poverty go hand in hand. Because disasters impoverish so many, disaster risk management is inseparable from poverty reduction policy, and vice versa. As climate change magnifies natural hazards, and because protection infrastructure alone cannot eliminate risk, a more resilient population has never been more critical to breaking the cycle of disaster-induced poverty.
Disaster Risk, Climate Change, and Poverty: Assessing the Global Exposure of Poor People to Floods and Droughts(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-11) Winsemius, Hessel C. ; Jongman, Brenden ; Veldkamp, Ted I.E. ; Hallegatte, Stephane ; Bangalore, Mook ; Ward, Philip J.People living in poverty are particularly vulnerable to shocks, including those caused by natural disasters such as floods and droughts. Previous studies in local contexts have shown that poor people are also often overrepresented in hazard-prone areas. However, systematic evidence across countries demonstrating this finding is lacking. This paper analyzes at the country level whether poor people are disproportionally exposed to floods and droughts, and how this exposure may change in a future climate. To this end, household survey data with spatial identifiers from 52 countries are combined with present-day and future flood and drought hazard maps. The paper defines and calculates a “poverty exposure bias” and finds support that poor people are often overexposed to droughts and urban floods. For floods, no such signal is found for rural households, suggesting that different mechanisms—such as land scarcity—are more important drivers in urban areas. The poverty exposure bias does not change significantly under future climate scenarios, although the absolute number of people potentially exposed to floods or droughts can increase or decrease significantly, depending on the scenario and the region. The study finds some evidence of regional patterns: in particular, many countries in Africa exhibit a positive poverty exposure bias for floods and droughts. For these hot spots, implementing risk-sensitive land-use and development policies that protect poor people should be a priority.
Building Back Better: Achieving Resilience through Stronger, Faster, and More Inclusive Post-Disaster Reconstruction(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-06-18) Hallegatte, Stéphane ; Rentschler, Jun ; Walsh, BrianThe 2017 Unbreakable report made the case that disaster losses disproportionately affect poor people. The Caribbean hurricane season of 2017 was a tragic illustration of this. Two category 5 hurricanes wreaked destruction on numerous small islands, causing severe damages on islands like Barbuda, Dominica, and Saint Martin. The human cost of these disasters was immense, and the impact of this devastation was felt most strongly by poorer communities in the path of the storms. And yet, amidst the destruction it is essential to look forward and to build back better. In this 2018 report the authors explore how countries can strengthen their resilience to natural shocks through a better reconstruction process. Reconstruction needs to be strong, so that assets and livelihoods become less vulnerable to future shocks; fast, so that people can get back to their normal life as early as possible; and inclusive, so that nobody is left behind in the recovery process. The benefits of building back better could be very large – up to US$173 billion per year globally – and would be greatest among the communities and countries that are hit by disasters most intensely and frequently and that have limited coverage of social protection and financial inclusion. Small island states – because of their size, exposure, and vulnerability – are among the countries where building back better has the greatest potential. A stronger, faster, and more inclusive recovery would lead to an average reduction in disaster-related well-being losses of 59 percent in the 17 small island states covered in the report.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2019-06-19) Hallegatte, Stephane ; Rentschler, Jun ; Rozenberg, JulieFrom serving our most basic needs to enabling our most ambitious ventures in trade and technology, infrastructure services are essential for raising and maintaining people’s quality of life. Yet millions of people, especially in low- and middle-income countries, are facing the consequences of unreliable electricity grids, inadequate water and sanitation systems, and overstrained transport networks. Natural hazards magnify the challenges faced by these fragile systems. Building on a wide range of case studies, global empirical analyses, and modeling exercises, Lifelines lays out a framework for understanding infrastructure resilience—the ability of infrastructure systems to function and meet users’ needs during and after a natural shock—and it makes an economic case for building more resilient infrastructure. Lifelines concludes by identifying five obstacles to resilient infrastructure and offering concrete recommendations and specific actions that can be taken by governments, stakeholders, and the international community to improve the quality and resilience of these essential services, and thereby contribute to more resilient and prosperous societies.
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2021-10-28) Hallegatte, Stephane ; Walsh, BrianConventional risk assessments underestimate the human and macroeconomic costs of disasters, leading to inefficient risk management strategies. This happens because conventional assessments focus on asset losses, neglecting important relationships between vulnerability and development. When affected by a hazard, poor households take longer to recover from disasters and are more likely to face long-term consequences. Forced to manage trade-offs between essential consumption and reconstruction, these households are more likely to face persistent health or education costs. This chapter proposes a review of existing research into the natural disaster-poverty-inequality nexus and the various metrics that can be used to measure disaster impacts, such as recovery times, economic (income or consumption) losses, poverty incidence, inequality, and welfare or well-being losses. Each of these metrics provides a different perspective on disaster costs and suggest different spatial and sectoral priorities for action. Focusing on the concepts of well-being losses and socioeconomic resilience, this chapter shows how more comprehensive accounting of disaster impacts can better inform disaster risk management and climate change adaptation strategies and support their integration into development and poverty-reduction policies.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-11) Hallegatte, Stephane ; Bangalore, Mook ; Vogt-Schilb, AdrienThis paper presents a model to assess the socioeconomic resilience to natural disasters of an economy, defined as its capacity to mitigate the impact of disaster-related asset losses on welfare. The paper proposes a tool to help decision makers identify the most promising policy options to reduce welfare losses from natural disasters. Applied to riverine and storm surge floods, earthquakes, windstorms, and tsunamis in 117 countries, the model provides estimates of country-level socioeconomic resilience. Because hazards disproportionally affect poor people, each $1 of global natural disaster-related asset loss is equivalent to a $1.6 reduction in the affected country’s national income, on average. The model also assesses policy levers to reduce welfare losses in each country. It shows that considering asset losses is insufficient to assess disaster risk management policies. The same reduction in asset losses results in different welfare gains depending on who (especially poor or nonpoor households) benefits. And some policies, such as adaptive social protection, do not reduce asset losses, but still reduce welfare losses. Post-disaster transfers bring an estimated benefit of at least $1.30 per dollar disbursed in the 117 countries studied, and their efficiency is not very sensitive to targeting errors.
Model and Methods for Estimating the Number of People Living in Extreme Poverty Because of the Direct Impacts of Natural Disasters(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-11) Rozenberg, Julie ; Hallegatte, StephaneNatural disasters have an impact on poverty through many different channels -- economic growth, health, schooling, behaviors -- that are difficult to quantify. It is nonetheless possible to assess the short-term impacts of income losses. A counterfactual scenario is built of what people's income would be in developing countries in the absence of natural disasters. This scenario uses surveys of 1.4 million households in 89 countries. Depending on where they live and work, what they consume, and the nature of their vulnerability, the additional income that each household in the survey could earn every year on average in the absence of natural disasters is calculated. The analysis concludes that if all disasters could be prevented next year, 26 million fewer people would be in extreme poverty—that is, living on less than $1.90 a day. A systematic analysis of the uncertainty suggests that this impact could lie between 7 million if all the most optimistic assumptions are combined, and 77 million if we retain only the most pessimistic assumptions.