Date of Award

Summer 8-6-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program

Urban Studies


School of Urban Planning and Regional Studies

Major Professor

Shirley Laska

Second Advisor

John Kiefer

Third Advisor

Monica Farris

Fourth Advisor

Vern Baxter

Fifth Advisor

David Gladstone


This dissertation explores the role of the private and public sectors in hazard mitigation, an important part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) performance requirements from the Stafford Act. Hazard mitigation is the effort to reduce societal impacts from natural disasters by reducing their risk to people, property and infrastructure; before hazards occur. The goal of the work is to contribute to the literature examining the national trend towards privatization and reliance on the free market economy for the provision of government social services, through such public management movements as the “New Public Management” (NPM) of the 1980s and the general efficiency movement that encompasses a greater market orientation in public government and an increase in the use of private sector contractors as an alternative to public provision (Boston 1996).

The primary question which this dissertation seeks to answer is: How has the provision of hazard mitigation services by the private sector come to be the norm and what have been the consequences. Due to the broad nature of the question and the lack of previous research, this dissertation will utilize a mixed methods approach with the goal of gaining a broad understanding of the privatization of the hazard mitigation sector in its various manifestations. The approach consists of one case study, broken down into two time periods: hazard mitigation prior to the passage of the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000, and hazard mitigation following the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. The case study is based primarily upon a series of interviews and includes several imbedded cases. They will be contextualized within an overall description of hazard mitigation focusing on the history and the context of the relevant federal legislation.


The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.