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The story of Katrina: New Orleans and the political economy of catastrophe

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  • Roger Congleton

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Abstract

This paper analyzes the public policies that lead to ‘`Katrina,’' paying particular attention to political decisions that created unusual risks in the New Orleans area. Most of the deaths from hurricane Katrina were concentrated in one place, New Orleans, and those losses arose in large part from its location in combination with its three century long effort to ‘`manage’' the risks associated with that location. Crisis management is inherently more error prone than ordinary policy making, because surprise implies the existence of significant information problems and urgency implies that time does not exist to completely address those problems (Congleton, 2005). In New Orleans the unavoidable mistakes of crisis management were compounded by policy choices made well before Katrina made landfall, as well as federalism, partisan politics, corruption, and incompetence. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

Suggested Citation

  • Roger Congleton, 2006. "The story of Katrina: New Orleans and the political economy of catastrophe," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 5-30, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:127:y:2006:i:1:p:5-30
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-006-7729-9
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11127-006-7729-9
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters,in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura, 2012. "Death tolls from natural disasters: Influence of interactions among fiscal decentralization, institutions and economic development," EERI Research Paper Series EERI_RP_2012_08, Economics and Econometrics Research Institute (EERI), Brussels.
    2. Emily Skarbek, 2014. "The Chicago Fire of 1871: a bottom-up approach to disaster relief," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(1), pages 155-180, July.
    3. repec:kap:revaec:v:30:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s11138-016-0369-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jorge Gallego, 2015. "Natural Disasters and Clientelism: the Case of Floods and Landslides in Colombia," DOCUMENTOS DE TRABAJO 012537, UNIVERSIDAD DEL ROSARIO.
    5. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Effect of free media on views regarding the safety of nuclear energy after the 2011 disasters in Japan: evidence using cross-country data," MPRA Paper 32011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Yong-Jun Lin & Yuan-Hsiou Chang & Yih-Chi Tan & Hong-Yuan Lee & Yu-Jia Chiu, 2011. "National policy of watershed management and flood mitigation after the 921 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan," Natural Hazards: Journal of the International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, Springer;International Society for the Prevention and Mitigation of Natural Hazards, vol. 56(3), pages 709-731, March.
    7. Oberlack, Christoph & Neumärker, Bernhard, 2011. "Economics, institutions and adaptation to climate change," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 04-2011, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.
    8. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Natural disasters and their long-term effect on happiness: the case of the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake," MPRA Paper 37505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Lambert, Claudia & Noth, Felix & Schüwer, Ulrich, 2015. "How do banks react to catastrophic events? Evidence from Hurricane Katrina," SAFE Working Paper Series 94, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    10. yamamura, eiji, 2008. "Learning Effect And Social Capital: A Case Study Of Natural Disaster From Japan," MPRA Paper 10249, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Eiji Yamamura, 2010. "Effects of Interactions among Social Capital, Income and Learning from Experiences of Natural Disasters: A Case Study from Japan," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(8), pages 1019-1032.
    12. Eiji Yamamura, 2013. "Public sector corruption and the probability of technological disasters," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 233-255, August.
    13. Roger Congleton, 2012. "On the political economy and limits of crisis insurance: the case of the 2008–11 bailouts," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 150(3), pages 399-423, March.
    14. David Skarbek, 2010. "Restricting Reconstruction: Occupational Licensing and Natural Disasters," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina and Community Rebound, chapter 5 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    15. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Death tolls from natural disasters: Influence of interactions between fiscal decentralization, institution, and economic development," MPRA Paper 36987, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. repec:eee:epplan:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:57-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Coyne, Christopher J., 2011. "Constitutions and crisis," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 80(2), pages 351-357.
    18. Emily Chamlee-Wright & Virgil Storr, 2010. "Expectations of government’s response to disaster," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 144(1), pages 253-274, July.
    19. Axel Dreher & Justina A. V. Fischer, 2010. "Government Decentralization As A Disincentive For Transnational Terror? An Empirical Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(4), pages 981-1002, November.
    20. repec:kap:atlecj:v:45:y:2017:i:1:d:10.1007_s11293-016-9523-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Emily C. Schaeffer & Andrew Kashdan, 2010. "Earth, Wind, and Fire! Federalism and Incentive in Natural Disaster Response," Chapters,in: The Political Economy of Hurricane Katrina and Community Rebound, chapter 10 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    22. Oberlack, Christoph & Neumärker, Bernhard, 2013. "A diagnostic approach to the institutional analysis of climate adaptation," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 01-2013, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.
    23. Emily Chamlee-Wright & Virgil Storr, 2011. "Social capital, lobbying and community-based interest groups," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 149(1), pages 167-185, October.
    24. Joshua Hall & Shree Baba Pokharel, 2017. "Does the Median Voter or Special Interests Determine State Highway Expenditures? Recent Evidence," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 45(1), pages 59-69, March.
    25. André Schultz & Alexander Libman, 2015. "Is there a local knowledge advantage in federations? Evidence from a natural experiment," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 162(1), pages 25-42, January.

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