Prevention Isn’t Good Politics

Nov 1 2012 @ 3:34pm

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Adam Serwer observes that politicians "get much more credit for their reaction to disasters like Sandy than they do for trying to ensure disasters don't cause so much damage in the first place":

That dynamic sets up some "perverse incentives," according to Stanford professor Neil Malhotra, who co-authored a 2009 study with Loyola Marymount professor Andrew Healy on the politics of natural disasters. "The government might under-invest in preparedness measures and infrastructure development in exchange for paying for disaster relief, since there are no electoral rewards for prevention," says Malhotra. "Since 1988, the amount of money the U.S. spends on disaster relief has increased 13 times while the amount spending on disaster preparedness has been flat."