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Signaling effects of commercial and civil society in post‐Katrina reconstruction

Emily Chamlee‐Wright (Beloit College, Beloit, Wisconsin, USA The Mercatus Center, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, USA)

International Journal of Social Economics

ISSN: 0306-8293

Article publication date: 4 July 2008




The purpose of this paper is to examine the role private action has played in overcoming the collective action problem posed by Hurricane Katrina.


The paper analyses the post‐Hurricane Katrina situation with regard to commercial and civil society.


The paper argues that private recovery efforts within commercial and civil society challenge this assumption. Mutual assistance, commercial cooperation, and the redevelopment of key community resources help to overcome collective action problems by reducing the high costs of an early return and by signaling the potential for widespread recovery to individual actors. Though most redevelopment plans assume that a large‐scale government response is the only way to overcome the collective action problem.


Even in the absence of a government‐led reconstruction effort, the strategies described in the paper offer Gulf Coast residents tools for solving the collective action problem presented in the wake of catastrophic devastation.



Chamlee‐Wright, E. (2008), "Signaling effects of commercial and civil society in post‐Katrina reconstruction", International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 35 No. 8, pp. 615-626.



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Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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