Hurricane Katrina: Was There a Political Economy of Death?
An empirical implication of egalitarianism in the provision of public disaster relief services is that the probability of surviving a natural disaster should not be conditioned on a household’s position in the income distribution, or its racial characteristics. In this paper, we utilize data on deaths attributed to Hurricane Katrina in the City of New Orleans to estimate a political economy model of the public provision of disaster rescue services. Parameter estimates reveal that the probability of dying as a result of Hurricane Katrina, at both the census tract and individual level, increased with respect to being black and poor. Our results suggest that there was a departure from egalitarian principles in the provision of public disaster rescue services during Hurricane Katrina, and are consistent with a political economy of race and class governing decisions about the allocation of public resources to ameliorate population environmental risks.
KeywordsEgalitarianism Political economy Hurricane Katrina
The author would like to thank participants of the Michigan State University Department of Economics Theory Seminar, William Darity Jr., and other participants of the 2007 University of North Carolina Institute for African American Research Conference on “Race and the Environment” for critical yet helpful comments on earlier versions of this paper.
- Besley T, Burgess R. The political economy of government responsiveness. Rev Econ Stat. 2002;117:1415–52.Google Scholar
- Cleves MA, Gould WW, Gutierrez RG. An introduction to survival analysis using STATA. Revised ed. College Station, Texas: Stata Press, STATA Corp; 2004.Google Scholar
- Deaton A, Muellbauer J. Economics and consumer behavior. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1980.Google Scholar
- Draut T. Testimony before the United States senate commmittee on banking, housing and urban affairs. In: Examining the billing, marketing, and disclosure practices of the credit card industry and their impact on consumers. Hearing. http://banking.senate.gov/_files/draut.pdf. Accessed 25 January 2007.
- Famoye F, Singh KP. Zero-inflated generalized poisson regression model with an application to domestic violence data. J Data Sci. 2006;4:117–30.Google Scholar
- Greene WH. Econometric analysis. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall; 2003.Google Scholar
- Horwich G. Disasters and market response. Cato J. 1990;9:531–5.Google Scholar
- Kiefer NM. Economic duration data and hazard functions. J Econ Lit. 1988:26:646–79.Google Scholar
- Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. Vital statistics of all bodies at St. Gabriel Morgue. www.dhh.louisiana.gov/reports.asp. Accessed 23 February 2006.
- Simerman J, Ott D, Melnick T. Assumptions about Katrina victims may be incorrect. Knight Ridder Newspapers; December 29, 2005.Google Scholar
- United States Government Printing Office. Hurricane Katrina: a nation still unprepared. Special Report of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (S. Rept. 109–322), United States Senate. origin.www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/ (2006).
- Van den Berg JG. Duration models: specification, identification, and multiple durations. In: Heckman JJ, Leamer E, editors. Handbook of econometrics, vol. 5, chapter 55. Amsterdam: Elsevier/North-Holland; 2001.Google Scholar
- Wienke A. Frailty models. MPIDR Working Paper WP 2003 - 032. Rostock Germany: Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research; 2003.Google Scholar