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The Political Economy of FEMA: Did Reorganization Matter?

  • Russell S. Sobel

    (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)

  • Christopher Coyne

    (Department of Economics, West Virginia University)

  • Peter Leeson

    (Department of Economics, George Mason University)

This paper investigates the political economy of FEMA’s post-9/11 merger with the Department of Homeland Security. Using panel data for the post-DHS merger but pre-Katrina period, we examine how FEMA’s much-debated reorganization has impacted the strong political influences on disaster declaration and relief spending identified by Garrett and Sobel (2003) before FEMA’s reorganization. We find that although politically-important states for the president continue to have a higher rate of disaster declaration, disaster expenditures are no longer higher in states with congressional representation on FEMA oversight committees. These results suggest reorganization has reduced political pressures within FEMA. Tullock’s theory of bureaucracy helps to explain this change.

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File URL: http://www.be.wvu.edu/phd_economics/pdf/09-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2009
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, West Virginia University in its series Working Papers with number 09-10.

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Length: 25 pages
Date of creation: 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wvu:wpaper:09-10
Contact details of provider: Postal: P.O. Box 6025, Morgantown, WV 26506-6025
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Web page: http://www.be.wvu.edu/phd_economics/
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  1. Anderson, Gary M & Tollison, Robert D, 1991. "Congressional Influence and Patterns of New Deal Spending, 1933-1939," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 161-75, April.
  2. Russell Sobel & Peter Leeson, 2006. "Government's response to Hurricane Katrina: A public choice analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 127(1), pages 55-73, April.
  3. Barry Weingast, 1984. "The congressional-bureaucratic system: a principal agent perspective (with applications to the SEC)," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 44(1), pages 147-191, January.
  4. 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.
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