'Black Wave' Book Panel

On this episode of the podcast, the Hayek Program welcomes Daniel Aldrich to a book panel discussion on the themes and highlights of his recent book, "Black Wave: How Networks and Governance Shaped Japan’s 3/11 Disasters." Daniel Aldrich is joined on the panel by Laura Grube and Arnold Howitt with Peter Boettke moderating the discussion.

Peter J. Boettke
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Sep 10, 2019
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The Strength of the Human Spirit Was The Greatest Winner from Hurricane Katrina

Monday, July 20, 2015
Virgil Storr

In recent months a number of natural disasters have struck individuals and communities around the world. In April, for instance, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal killed as many as 7,000 and injured tens of thousands. In May, heavy rains caused flooding throughout the south central United States, claiming the lives of two dozen people in Texas. Early estimates of damage to public property alone is more than $80 million. The extent of the damage will become more apparent as homeowners return and begin cleaning up and rebuilding.

Continue reading at: The Advocate 

Embedded Entrepreneurs and Post-Disaster Community Recovery

March, 2018

Entrepreneurs can and do play an important role in promoting community recovery after disasters. Research, however, has not adequately explored the behavior and practices of post-disaster entrepreneurs or acknowledged the role of entrepreneurs in overall disaster recovery. We attempt to fill this gap by highlighting the behavior and practices of entrepreneurs who contribute to recovery, specifically, we argue that post-disaster entrepreneurs: (a) supply needed resources to disaster victims, (b) leverage social capital to navigate extreme uncertainty, (c) are motivated by high place attachment, and (d) exhibit both commercial and social goals. They are able to successfully perform these functions because of the embedded nature of entrepreneurship. We offer evidence based on fieldwork conducted in New Orleans, Louisiana, following Hurricane Katrina and following the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and Joplin, Missouri.

The Organizational Evolution of the American National Red Cross

December, 2017

The American National Red Cross is in many ways the iconic symbol for disaster response and recovery. The organization, founded in 1881, has a long track record for coming to the aid of those in need in the wake of wars, natural disasters, and other crises. However, in the wake of recent disasters, the Red Cross has been criticized for underperforming. By combining the literature on bureaucracy in Austrian economics and the literature on monocentricity in the work of Vincent Ostrom and Elinor Ostrom, we provide an analysis of the Red Cross that helps explain the organization's evolution over time and that also yields implications for disaster management more broadly. Specifically, the Red Cross is a bureaucracy that has become increasingly centralized and rigid as it has become further enmeshed with governmental responsibilities.

Navigating Disaster

July, 2017

Federal disaster assistance should only compensate disaster victims for the damage sustained. Using zip code-level data on federal disaster assistance, this paper examines the FEMA Individuals and Households Program following Hurricane Sandy. We show that the extent of the damage does appear to explain much of the differences in the size of the federal disaster award that individuals receive. However, other factors, including percentage of foreign-born and the educational attainment levels of individuals in a community, also explain damage assessments and assistance levels. We argue that complexities in the application process may have disadvantaged foreign-born and less educated applicants.

Entrepreneurs Drive Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster

June, 2017

This article responds to the points raised by Daniel P. Aldrich, Emily Chamlee-Wright, and Lori Peek in the symposium on our book Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster: Lessons in Local Entrepreneurship (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015).

Polycentric Orders and Post-Disaster Recovery

February, 2017

Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the United States on 29 October 2012, flooding hundreds of thousands of homes and costing over $50 billion in property damage. After Hurricane Sandy residents and communities required food, water and clothing, and in the weeks and months following, there was demand for cleaning supplies, building materials and contracting services. Polycentric orders, because of their flexibility and access to local knowledge, are well suited to respond to the challenges of disaster. We highlight the importance of privately provided social services within polycentric orders and illustrate that the private provision of these services was important to post-disaster recovery in the Orthodox Jewish community in the Rockaway Peninsula in New York.

Social Capital and Social Learning after Hurricane Sandy

December, 2017

The post-disaster context is one characterized by profound uncertainty. Those affected by the storm, or earthquake, or flood, must determine what strategies to pursue in response to the disaster and must find ways to coordinate their recovery efforts with others in their community. Ex ante it is not clear what strategies will be most effective. If communities are to recover after a disaster, community members must engender and engage in a process of social learning involving experimentation, communication, and imitation. This paper explores the post-disaster social learning process. Specifically, we focus on the importance of social capital in facilitating social learning after a disaster, including facilitating community members’ ability to communicate their desire to return, to assess damage, to overcome barriers to rebuilding through collective yet voluntary action, and to learn from and imitate others’ successes. Focusing on how this process took place after Hurricane Sandy in Rockaway, New York, especially within the Orthodox Jewish community, we examine how community groups (a) adapted existing organization structures and (b) created new procedures and imitated the successful actions of others in order to spur recovery.

'Tis the Season to Recognize Local Heroes

Monday, December 21, 2015
Virgil Storr

With the holiday season upon us, many people will be looking to find ways to not only give gifts to their loved ones and friends but to also give back to their communities and donate to worthy causes. There are many options to choose from, including large multinational NGOs as well as local nonprofits and religious organizations, and determining where to donate your time and money is a difficult decision to make. However, lessons from post-disaster recovery suggest that donating to local social entrepreneurs can be a worthy endeavor.

Just over three years ago, Hurricane Sandy devastated the coast of Maryland, New Jersey and New York. The storm caused more than $60 billion in damages and displaced an estimated 37,000 primary residences in New Jersey and over 300,000 residences in New York. While much of the media coverage of the three-year anniversary focused on the role of government assistance in recovery, there have been fewer stories that show the efforts within civil society to provide assistance. Through our research on the ground after Hurricane Sandy, we saw that local community leaders and social entrepreneurs were critical to recovery.

For instance, in the Orthodox Jewish community on the Rockaway Peninsula, a local nonprofit, Achiezer, worked with local rabbis to distribute assistance to those in need. The Community Assistance Fund, which had previously been used to help community members during the recession, helped more than 1,000 families and distributed $11 million. It enlisted the help of rabbis and other members of the community to work as representatives who would help community members apply for funding. The 48 representatives, spread throughout the Orthodox Jewish community on the peninsula, helped people fill out and submit applications.

Its funding was distributed in three distinct phases. The first phase provided victims with emergency cash between $2,000 to $3,000. The second and third phases included larger payments for repairing and rebuilding homes.

Less than a year after the storm, Rabbi Bender expressed pride in his team's ability to raise and distribute the funds quickly and efficiently, "The staggering fact from this, which I am extremely proud of, [is that] … we raised it, $11 million, and we gave out $11 million and there was no overhead costs." Bender compares this to government efforts, which still have not succeeded in distributing aid to those in need.

In addition to providing the resources necessary to repair and rebuild damaged property, these local heroes help restore and replace disrupted social networks by connecting and informing residents, signaling that community rebound is likely and, in fact, under way.

Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster | Official Book Trailer

Rebounding after disasters like tsunamis, hurricanes, earthquakes, and floods can be daunting. Communities must have residents who can not only gain access to the resources that they need to rebuild but who can also overcome the collective action problem that characterizes post-disaster relief efforts.

In their new book, Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster: Lessons in Local Entrepreneurship, Virgil Henry Storr, Stefanie Haeffele-Balch, and Laura E. Grube use examples of recovery efforts following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Hurricane Sandy on the Rockaway Peninsula in New York to show that entrepreneurs, conceived broadly as individuals who recognize and act on opportunities to promote social change, fill this critical role.

Learn more at communityrevival.us.

Virgil Storr
Stefanie Haeffele
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Thursday, November 5, 2015
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