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The Role of Government in Responding to Natural Catastrophes


  • Arnold N. Scott

    (University of Alabama)


Aux Etats-Unis les gouvernements des Etats tout autant que le gouvernement fédéral jouent un rôle important dans le traitement des effets des sinistres naturels. Le gouvernement fédéral subventionne lassurance-inondations pour les individus, les entreprises privées et les gouvernements dEtats et locaux, et il affecte des fonds sur une base ad hoc pour reconstruire après de très importants sinistres naturels tels que de fortes inondations ou des tremblements de terre. Les gouvernements des Etats réglementent lassurance-seïsme (en Californie) et lassurance-ouragan (en Floride) en imposant à lensemble des assurances et à certains de leurs utilisateurs de subventionner dautres assurés. Cet article analyse les diverses formes dimplications gouvernementales dans lassistance des sinistres et évalue de manière critique les arguments normatifs pour ces formes de participations et de réglementations. Il propose que le gouvernement fédéral se retire du marché de lassurance-inondation et que les gouvernements des états arrêtent de réglementer les marchés dassurance privés qui obligent des gens à subventionner lassurance pour dautres.Government at both the state and federal level in the United States has an extensive role in dealing with the effects of natural disasters. The federal government provides subsidized flood insurance to private individuals, businesses, and state and local government, and it appropriates f unds on an ad hoc basis for rebuilding after highly visible natural disasters such as large floods and earthquakes. State governments regulate earthquake insurance (California) and hurricane insurance (in Florida) in ways that force the insurance industry and some of its customers to subsidize other policyholders. This essay details the various forms of government involvement in disaster assistance and critically evaluates the normative arguments for these forms of government involvement and regulation. It proposes that the federal government should withdraw from the flood insurance market and that state governments should stop regulating private insurance markets in such a way that some people are forced to subsidize insurance for others.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnold N. Scott, 2000. "The Role of Government in Responding to Natural Catastrophes," Journal des Economistes et des Etudes Humaines, De Gruyter, vol. 10(4), pages 1-24, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:jeehcn:v:10:y:2000:i:4:n:4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Epstein, Richard A, 1996. "Catastrophic Responses to Catastrophic Risks," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 12(2-3), pages 287-308, May.
    2. Priest, George L, 1996. "The Government, the Market, and the Problem of Catastrophic Loss," Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, Springer, vol. 12(2-3), pages 219-237, May.
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