Politics, diversity and the distribution of federal disaster assistance


  • Richard M. Vogel Farmingdale State College




Using a database of natural hazard events and costs that have struck the U.S. since 1964, this paper evaluates the distribution of federal disaster assistance in light of state electoral politics, population diversity, and other demographic factors. The results of the analysis indicate that electoral politics does appear to affect the distribution of federal disaster aid. More to the point, it tends to show that Republican leaning states receive less federal aid than Democratic leaning states.

Author Biography

Richard M. Vogel, Farmingdale State College

Professor of Economics, Acting Dean - School of Business


Bagstad, K.J., K. Stapleton and D'Agostinoa, J.R. (2007) Taxes, subsidies, and insurance as drivers of United States coastal development, Ecological Economics, 63, 285-298.

Bureau of Economic Analysis, Regional Economic Accounts. <http://www.bea.gov/regional/index.htm>.

Dirmeyer, J. (2009) The political economy of local governance and service provision, Unpublished doctoral dissertation, George Mason University.

Garrett, T.A. and Sobel, R.S. (2002) The political economy of FEMA disaster payments, Working Paper 2002–012B, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, St. Louis, MO.

Gasper, J.T. and Reeves, A. (2010) Governors as opportunists: evidence from disaster declaration requests, SSRN paper id SSRN-id-1642672.

Michel-Kerjan, E. and Volkman-Wise, J. (2011) The risk of ever-growing disaster relief expectations, Working Paper 2011-09, Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Moss, M., C. Schellhamer and Berman, D. (2009) The Stafford Act and priorities for reform, Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, 6(1), 1-23.

Public Entity Risk Institute, Summary Data. (Data Presidential Disaster Declarations and Federal aid to states associated with these declarations) <http://www.peripresdecusa.org/mainframe.htm>.

Smith, V.H. and Watts, M. (20109 The new standing disaster program: a sure invitation to moral hazard behavior, Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, 32(1), 154–169.

Sylves, R. (2005) Presidents, disasters and policy, Public Entity Risk Institute. <http://www.peripresdecusa.org/mainframe.htm>.

United States Census Bureau (2012) The 2012 Statistical Abstract (various data). <http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/>.

Wamsley, G.L. and Schroeder, A.D. (1996) Escalating in a quagmire: the changing dynamics of emergency management policy subsystem, Public Administration Review, 56(3), 235-244.




How to Cite

Vogel, R. M. (2012). Politics, diversity and the distribution of federal disaster assistance. Economics and Business Letters, 1(2), 37-42. https://doi.org/10.17811/ebl.1.2.2012.37-42