January 1, 2007

The Political Economy of FEMA

Did Reorganization Matter?
  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Peter Leeson

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

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This paper investigates the political economy of FEMA after its post-9/11 merger with the Department of Homeland Security. Using panel data for the post-DHS merger but pre-Katrina  period, this study examines how FEMA’s much-debated reorganization has impacted the strong political  influences on disaster declaration and relief spending that existed before FEMA’s reorganization. The study finds 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 some of the political pressures within FEMA.

Read the article at Peter Leeson's website.