Material Convergence and Its Determinants: Case of Hurricane Katrina

Volunteers, emergency respondents, the press, and material donations converge at an area affected by an extreme event. The convergence of materials is a highly heterogeneous flow of goods, ranging from critical supplies to large influxes of low-priority goods. These low-priority goods can hamper the flow of critical supplies because of the allocation of resources required to manage them and because these resources distract from other, more critical tasks. This problem is a major issue: not knowing the volume of material convergence that might be expected after a disaster makes it difficult for relief agencies to prepare. This paper contributes to the study of this subject through the econometric estimation of models that attempt to explain the convergence as a function of the socioeconomic characteristics of the donors. The models are estimated with the use of a database of donations made after Hurricane Katrina; the database was created by postprocessing of articles in the media. The models show that donations have a systematic relation with the donors’ socioeconomic characteristics. In general, donations have a positive relation with income, education, number of married individuals, total population, and household density and a negative relation with unemployment, number of unmarried individuals, and family size. The models indicate that monetary donations increase with the distance from the donor to the affected site, whereas the value of in-kind donations decreases with distance. This finding reflects the role played by transportation costs in deterring donors located further away from sending large volumes of physical goods.


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01340373
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 9780309167529
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 11-2897
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: May 18 2011 11:43AM