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An economic and ethical analysis of the Katrina disaster

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  • Robert W. McGee

Abstract

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to apply economic and ethical analysis to natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina to determine which approaches to disaster relief work best and which should be abandoned. Design/methodology/approach - This paper provides a combination of narrative with argument and analysis. Findings - Government involvement in disaster relief has proven to be economically inefficient and also rights-violating. Private sector initiatives and economic and political freedom provide better solutions. Practical implications - The findings point to ways that can improve the economic efficiency of providing disaster relief while also safeguarding property and contract rights. Originality/value - This paper combines economic and ethical analysis and includes discussions from the perspectives of both utilitarian ethics and rights-based ethics, which is not usually done in the economics literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert W. McGee, 2008. "An economic and ethical analysis of the Katrina disaster," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(7), pages 546-557, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:ijsepp:v:35:y:2008:i:7:p:546-557
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William F. Chappell & Richard G. Forgette & David A. Swanson & Mark V. Van Boening, 2007. "Determinants of Government Aid to Katrina Survivors: Evidence from Survey Data," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 344-362, October.
    2. Craig E. Landry & Okmyung Bin & Paul Hindsley & John C. Whitehead & Kenneth Wilson, 2007. "Going Home: Evacuation-Migration Decisions of Hurrican Katrina Survivors," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 326-343, October.
    3. Catherine Eckel & Philip J. Grossman & Angela Milano, 2007. "Is More Information Always Better? An Experimental Study of Charitable Giving and Hurrican Katrina," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 388-411, October.
    4. Sam Whitt & Rick K. Wilson, 2007. "Public Goods in The Field: Katrina Evacuees in Houston," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 377-387, October.
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