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Bibek Adhikari

Mentor Department



On January 12, 2010, Haiti was struck by a magnitude 7.3 earthquake on the Richter scale, killing more than 300, 000 people and causing damage estimated at several billion dollars. Yet more than 10 years later, little is known about the causal impact of this shock on the Haitian economy. This paper aims to close this gap to some extent by answering the following question: what is the impact of the 2010 earthquake on Haiti's per capita GDP? To answer this question, I used the Synthetic Control Method (SCM), a research design recently developed in Abadie et al. (2010). This methodology provides a natural approach for evaluating the effects of an exogenous treatment that affects only some units while many other units are unaffected. I collected data for 40 developing countries that constitute the donor pool from which the counterfactual scenario is created. The causal impact is estimated by comparing the GDP per capita of this counterfactual scenario called synthetic unit with the actual GDP per capita of Haiti. The results indicate that the earthquake had a negative impact on Haiti's per capita GDP in the short run as well as in the long run. Particularly, for the 10 years following the earthquake, the magnitude of the impact is estimated at a $3,811 decrease in Haiti’s per capita GDP.

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