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Vol. 60, n.2, June 2019
pp. 315-336

A behavioural approach for seismic risk mitigation

E. Speranza, L. Savadori and M. Dolce

Received: 2 May 2018; accepted: 13 September 2018

Abstract

Earthquake is a natural calamity that cannot be predicted, and even though one day, hypothetically, this might be possible, its occurrence will not anyhow be avoided. Its unpredictability, together with its inescapability, poses the accent on preparedness and prevention, which represent the sole activities that can be pursued in order to mitigate its catastrophic effects. Within this scenario, human behaviour becomes extremely relevant. Two main actors of seismic risk mitigation are especially important: the population and the policy-makers, the latter in charge of safety and protection of the civil community. Contrary to a rational calculus, which would like people to protect themselves more and more as risk increases, we observe instances of inefficient behaviours, dictated to a large extent by the cognitive strategies with which people deal with when making decisions in the domain of seismic risk. Moreover, this expectation is largely unattended, because of the controversial behaviours and different perspectives of the two actors in dealing with seismic risk. The paper approaches the problem through the tools of behavioural economics, trying to investigate possible cognitive biases and risk misperception which can trigger crowding out either of individuals or policy-makers for undertaking seismic risk reduction measures, with the final goal of supporting and improving the effectiveness of risk reduction strategies designed at governmental level. A particular focus is dedicated to Italy, as being a country with high seismic risk and, on the other hand, significant skills on seismic risk reduction strategies.



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