Linking Trust in Government with Federal Disaster Relief Aid: A Case Study of Hurricane-Prone Gulf Coast Residents



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Political trust has declined drastically over decades; however, it is critical to disaster management efforts by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and its partners. Previous studies examined the impact of the public’s critique of government performance as a precursor of political trust. Using Easton’s adaptation of systems theory to the political system and a quantitative research design, this dissertation assesses whether an increase in federal disaster relief aid, as a proxy for government performance, will improve the public’s trust. This dissertation leverages a constructed dataset which merged survey data on attitudes and beliefs of Gulf Coast residents concerning disaster preparedness and response and FEMA’s program data. The findings could be used to craft policies concerning the allocation of emergency response funds to target specific communities where trust wanes.



Disaster relief aid, Emergency management policy, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Multinomial logit regression, Ordinal probit regression, Political trust