Rebuilding in the Wake of Crisis: Lessons from Hurricane Recovery

Nov 13, 2007



Please click here to view Dr. Chamlee-Wright's presentation.


Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright
Senior Research Scholar
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Elbert H. Neese Professor of Economics
Beloit College

The recent fires in California were among the worst in the state's history, leaving extraordinary damage in their wake; 8 deaths, 2,000 homes destroyed, 640,000 residents displaced, and damage estimates surpassing one billion dollars. Now, with the worst of the fires now behind them, communities are beginning to rebuild. But what role can policy makers have in rebuilding, and how can they best understand the process?

The fires caused a national response, and officials at FEMA and Red Cross pointed to the lessons of Hurricane Katrina in improving their disaster response this time around. What lessons, if any, can be gleaned from the citizens of Louisiana and Mississippi and their rebuilding efforts?

Dr. Emily Chamlee-Wright of the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and Beloit College has spent the last two years learning from the Gulf Coast communities rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Through her work at the Mercatus Center, Dr. Chamlee-Wright is examining how different social, legal, political, and economic institutions may affect communities before, during, and after disaster.

During this lunch course Dr. Chamlee-Wright will draw on her research to answer some key questions regarding the California fires:

  • What roles do the public, non-profit and for-profit sectors have in the rebuilding process?
  • How do people and markets act during the rebuilding process?
  • What challenges will policy makers face as communities begin to recover?
  • How can policy and policy makers expedite the rebuilding process?

Capital Campus California is a partnership between the Berkeley Center for Law, Business and the Economy and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.  For more information on this collaboration, visit Capital Campus California.