August, 2007

Club Goods and Post-Disaster Community Return

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Hurricane Katrina caused over one hundred billion dollars in property damage in the Greater New Orleans region.  Although much attention has been paid to why particular communities have begun to recover and others have failed to rebound, very little attention has been paid to how the communities that have recovered actually went about doing so.  This paper attempts to close that gap by examining how the church provision of club goods can foster social cooperation and community redevelopment in the wake of a disaster.  In particular, we investigate the swift return of the community surrounding the Mary Queen of Vietnam (MQVN) Catholic Church in New Orleans East after Hurricane Katrina.  Utilizing a unique bundle of club goods provided by the MQVN Catholic Church, residents in the New Orleans East Vietnamese-American community a) rebuilt their distinct ethnic-religious-language community, b) overcame the social coordination difficulties created by Katrina , and c) engaged in successful political action to protect their community.

Due to journal submission requirements, we are unable to include this piece in Mercatus' working paper series at this time. Please email Daniel Rothschild (drothsch@gmu.edu) to request a copy.