Disaster Recovery and the Role of Self-Governance




Grube, Laura

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Each year in the US, natural disasters result in hundreds of deaths and injuries and tens of billions of dollars in damage to property. Total disaster declarations and federal funding for disasters has been increasing in recent decades, with average yearly allocations to the Disaster Relief Fund (DRF) now over $5 billion. Those impacted by disaster are confronted with a variety of challenges, including questions about individual financial assistance, the task of cleaning up homes and businesses, the decision of whether to rebuild, and many more issues. Although federal funding following disaster has increased, there are still questions about how government assistance may or may not aid in recovery. Evidence from Hurricane Katrina, the tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri, and Hurricane Sandy suggest that other factors also contribute to community recovery. My dissertation brings together three papers that explore how individuals and communities engage in social cooperation to overcome difficult challenges such as natural disaster and the various types of resources that they employ in the process.



Economics, Sociology, Collective action, Community recovery, Hurricane Katrina, Natural disasters