Exposure to abnormal floods is believed to have negative short- and long-term consequences for welfare and health in poor countries, and such impacts are likely to grow worse with continued anthropogenic climate change. However, two common proxies for flood exposure, self-reported exposure and rainfall, are problematic. This paper describes a method for constructing objective measures of flood exposure using satellite data. Using the case of Bangladesh in the period 2002-2011, we show that (a) self-reported exposure has an important, non-random bias in that it responds much more strongly to actual exposure in areas where floods are relatively rare, and (b) rainfall is at best weakly correlated with floods.
Guiteras, R.; Amir Jina; Mobarak, A.M. Satellites, Self-reports, and Submersion: Exposure to Floods in Bangladesh. (2015) 13 pp. [Maryland Population Research Center Working Paper PWP-MPRC-2015-001, and IGC Working Paper]