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Emergency management policies and natural hazards in the United States: A state-level analysis

Luis M. Pinet-Peralta, PhD, Rick Bissell, PhD, Katrina Hein, BSc, MSc, David Prakash, MSc


Every year, natural hazards kill and injure hundreds of people and also have significant social, economic, and political effects on society. However, not all disasters or crises are the focus of state, regional, or national efforts to mitigate their effects. In this article, the authors use Wilson’s policy typology to describe the unintended consequences that disaster legislation has had on the distribution of costs and benefits of disaster relief programs in the United States. The data provide evidence that the concentration of disaster relief programs for natural disasters is not based on need and that interest groups commonly drive disaster policies to benefit those with the greatest risk for losses rather than those in greatest need. Policymakers can use this information to examine both intended and unintended consequences of disaster response and recovery policies and can orient the limited resources available toward those who are least capable of recovering from natural disasters.


emergency management, public policy, planning, natural disasters, mitigation

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