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Rising waves of indecision: How financial incentives can support flood risk management

  • 4 November, 2021
  • 13:45
  • VU University Amsterdam, Institute for Environmental Studies (IVM)
  • Prof. J.C.J.H. AertsProf. W.J.W. Botzen
  • Dr T.HaerDr H. de Moel

Floods have a devastating impact on society, costing thousands of lives and billions of dollars annually. Scientific projections indicate that flood risk is expected to increase in the future, driven by socio-economic growth and climate change. However, managing flood risk is a complex and costly process that requires decision-making with uncertain future conditions under the fear of making irreversible, inefficient choices. To support decision-makers, flood risk assessments provide estimates of the monetary impacts of floods or the economic efficiency of adaptation investments, although they often lack spatial or temporal dynamics. In addition, homeowners also make decisions at an individual level, such as implementing building-level adaptation measures or purchasing flood insurance. Homeowners’ decisions often deviate from rationality, as it is difficult for individuals to estimate the probability and associated damage of a potential flood. This PhD research explores the extent to which we can incorporate the decision-making dynamics of governments, households, and flood insurance into a flood risk assessment at different spatial scales, and how this may improve flood risk management, applied to cases in the US.

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Lars de Ruig

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