Tom McDermott

Former Research Officer

Tom was a researcher with the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment from September 2012 until December 2014. His research primarily focused on the relationship between climate and economic development. Tom went on to work as a Lecturer at Cork University.

Background

Tom holds a PhD from the School of Business, Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), where he was supervised by Frank Barry and Richard Tol, and an M.Sc. in Economics from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He has also been a visiting researcher at the United Nations University, World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), in Helsinki. He was previously employed as a full time economics lecturer at Dublin City University and currently teaches a master’s seminar on ‘Climate change: Science, economics and policy’ (GY427) at the Department of Geography and the Environment at LSE.

 

Research interests

  • The economics of natural disasters;
  • Comparative economic development and the spatial distribution of income;
  • Issues of equity in relation to climate change policy;
  • Decision-making under uncertainty;
  • The evolution of economic behaviours such as cooperation.
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Working paper  20 July, 2015

Coping with climate risk: the role of institutions, governance and finance in private adaptation decisions of the poor

This paper looks at adaptation from the point of view of households. It asks how political and economic institutions may affect – help or hinder – these adaptation decisions. Climate … read more »

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Working paper  8 July, 2015

Climate change and the geographical and institutional drivers of economic development

This paper reviews the potential effects of climate change on the prospects for long-run economic development. Produced as part of the Pathways to Resilience in Semi-arid Economies project. read more »

2014

Research article  29 May, 2014

Understanding the adaptation deficit: why are poor countries more vulnerable to climate events than rich countries?

This paper analyses the link between income and adaptation to climate events theoretically and empirically. read more »

2013

Research article  23 November, 2013

Disasters and development: Natural disasters, credit constraints and economic growth

Using a simple two-period model of the economy, we demonstrate the potential effects of natural disasters on economic growth over the medium to long term. In particular, we focus on the effect of such shocks on investment. read more »

Working paper  28 September, 2013

Understanding the adaptation deficit: why are poor countries more vulnerable to climate events than rich countries?

Understanding the adaptation deficit: why are poor countries more vulnerable to climate events than rich countries? read more »

Working paper  2 September, 2013

Reconciling conflicting evidence on the origins of comparative development: a finite mixture model approach

In this paper, I revisit the controversy over the fundamental sources of comparative development. In contrast to much of the previous literature, my focus is on … read more »

2012

Research article  20 July, 2012

Geography and institutions: on the origins of comparative development

In this paper, I replicate the analysis in Acemoglu et al. (2001). These authors famously show that institutions are the primary determinant of differences in income between rich and … read more »

Research article  20 July, 2012

Media disasters? Newspaper coverage and the distribution of humanitarian aid

Reference McDermott, T.K.J. July 2012. Media disasters? Newspaper coverage and the distribution of humanitarian aid. Work in progress.

Research article  29 May, 2012

The luck of the development draw: environmental volatility and the takeoff to modern economic growth

This paper tests the implications of the model developed by Acemoglu and Zilibotti [Daron Acemoglu and Fabrizio Zilibotti, 1997. Was Prometheus unbound by chance? Risk, diversification and growth. Journal … read more »

Research article  20 February, 2012

The effects of natural disasters on human capital accumulation

In this paper I investigate the effects of disasters on human capital accumulation using an extensive panel dataset on natural disasters, covering 170 countries over a 25 year period … read more »

Research article  14 February, 2012

Safe haven assets and investor behaviour under uncertainty

Financial crises and contagion have highlighted the need for safe haven assets. However, their existence, role and interactions are not well understood. We analyze the two most prominent yet … read more »

2011

Research article  6 September, 2011

On cooperation

In this essay I discuss the role of cooperation in the process of innovation. I argue for a reorientation of the way we conceptualize economic behavior, taking account of … read more »

Research article  10 May, 2011

Disasters and development: natural disasters, credit constraints and economic growth

We demonstrate, using a simple two-period equilibrium model of the economy, the potential effects of extreme event occurrences – such as natural or humanitarian disasters – on economic growth … read more »

Research article  19 March, 2011

On natural disasters and economic development

Reference McDermott, T.K.J. 2011. On natural disasters and economic development. Trinity College Dublin Journal of Postgraduate Research, v.10, pp.54-66.

2010

Research article  19 August, 2010

Is gold a safe haven? International evidence

In this essay I discuss the role of cooperation in the process of innovation. I argue for a reorientation of the way we conceptualize economic behaviour, taking account of … read more »

More in research publications

2013

Commentary  10 September, 2013

Book Review: 'The Economic Impacts of Natural Disasters'

Since the turn of the millennium, more than one million people have been killed and 2.3 billion others have been directly affected by natural disasters around the world. Economic Impacts … read more »

2010

Commentary  20 December, 2010

False dichotomy on climate change policy options

Financial Times – registration is required.

Commentary  11 November, 2010

Thomas McDermott on Climate Bill

Climate change is a real and significant threat to human welfare, particularly in the poorest parts of the world. While an effective ’solution’ to this threat will require global cooperation … read more »

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2013

Grantham Workshop 11 Dec 2013

Learning from Disasters: The effect of past experience on losses from natural disasters

Grantham Workshop Speaker: Tom Mcdermott

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