Six or four seasons? Perceptions of climatic changes and people's cooperative attitudes toward flood protection in Bangladesh
Moinul Islam Koji Kotani
Bangladesh is vulnerable to climatic changes, and there has been a serious debate about the occurrence and the relationship of a change in climate to the frequency of ooding. For example, areas of Dhaka are hypothesized to possess four seasons rather than the six seasons that have traditionally comprised the annual calendar. Despite the importance of this topic, it has received little research attention. Thus, we examine (i) whether a change in climatic patterns is occurring, and (ii) the perceptions and attitudes of people living in this area. We conducted face-to-face surveys with 1,011 respondents of different social and demographic strata and seven experts in Bangladesh. Using these data, we analyze how closely people's perceptions align with climate data, and whether six seasons are becoming four seasons. Finally, we characterize the determinants of people's cooperative attitudes toward ood controls by examining their willingness to pay (WTP).We obtain the following principal results. First, most people correctly perceive the nature of climate variables. Moreover, people's perceptions and our statistical analysis of climate are identical in indicating that the annual calendar is transitioning to four seasons. Second, people who correctly perceive climatic changes tend to express a higher WTP than those who do not. Overall, these ndings suggest that a change in seasonal climatic patterns is occurring in the area. Informational and educational efforts related to accurate climate perceptions are keys to increasing cooperation into managing climatic change and related disasters.