The Impact of a Natural Disaster on the Division of Labor in Twelve Guatemalan Communities: A Study of Social Change in a Developing Country

November 1985 (VOL. 3, NO. 3)

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It has been hypothesized that disasters are a type of \\"intervention\\" which affect rates of social change and provide unique opportunities to observe this process by \\"compressing\\" it into a shorter time span. This paper utilizes an interrupted time series analysis to determine the effects of an earthquake on the rate and direction of change in the division of labor in twelve Guatemalan communities. The general trend for these communities (both control and experimental) is increasing complexity before the earthquake followed by accelerated growth in complexity after the earthquake. Differences between the experimental and control communities are discussed. It is suggested that the level of complexity may be important as an underlying influence on the response of a population to a disaster. In addition, changes in complexity (which were shown to occur) also warrant further study as possible influences upon these responses.