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
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