April 3, 2006

Government's Response to Hurricane Katrina

A Public Choice Analysis
  • Peter Leeson

    Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Russel Sobel

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The authors use public choice theory to explain the failure of FEMA and other governmental agencies to carry out effective disaster relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The areas in which they focus are: (1) the tragedy of the anti-commons resulting from layered bureaucracy, (2) a type-two error policy bias causing over cautiousness in decision making, (3) the political manipulation of disaster declarations and relief aid to win votes, (4) the problem of acquiring timely and accurate preference revelations, (5) glory seeking by government officials, and (6) the shortsightedness effect causing a bias in governmental decision making.

Read the paper at SpringerLink.

Citation: Leeson, Peter and Russell Sobel. "Government's Response to Hurricane Katrina: A Public Choice Analysis." Public Choice 127 (2006): 55-73.