Investigating the difference in policy responses to the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and homeowner insurance crises in Florida and Louisiana

Emanuel Ubert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 2004 and 2005, a series of hurricanes caused record homeowner insurance losses in Florida and Louisiana. Despite comparably sized losses, the two states responded differently to these shocks. Florida expanded state subsidized homeowner insurance, breaking from a free-market response, whereas Louisiana actively promoted private market supply. Comparing the two policy processes reveals that the politics and transformation of homeowner insurance evoked by extreme weather events depend on how concentrated the hurricane impact is and whether it effectively mobilizes homeowners into electoral politics. The broader distribution of losses in Florida prompted homeowners to exert sufficient electoral pressure to influence policy responses, fostering political dynamics emphasized by interest group theories of policy, and a break from the market. The more concentrated hurricane impact in Louisiana blocked homeowners from doing the same, leaving Louisiana's policymakers free to draw on the institutionalized free-market logic to guide their response to hurricane damages and producing trajectories expected by structural-class theories. The findings highlight the contingency of different approaches to the politics of markets and policy, suggesting that the dynamics proposed by the two theories depend on the distribution and political impact of the problems and shocks involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)691-715
Number of pages25
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Volume15
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press and the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics. All rights reserved.

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