April, 2007

Amateur Public Choice and Regime Uncertainty in Post-Katrina New Orleans

  • Adam Martin

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Residents and business owners seeking to reestablish themselves in areas affected by Hurricane Katrina face a situation fraught with Knightian uncertainty. This paper argues that government involvement in the rebuilding process, far from alleviating the problems of uncertainty, exacerbates them. In order for government policy to be effective in this regard, residents would have to treat the determination of policy as exogenous to their mental models. Ethnographic evidence to the contrary is presented, illustrating that New Orleans residents are well aware of the importance of policy determination and so are subject to an additional source of uncertainty in the political process itself.