Limited Resource Allocation Within FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program: An Exploration of Efficiency

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Purpose. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship federal Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA) grant allocation has with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and the various elements closely associated with efficient spending (efficiency), estimated income per capita (equity), and historical damages and number of repetitive loss properties (effectiveness), by identifying the presence or absence of correlations. Theoretical Framework: This study draws upon a moral framework grounded in rule consequentialism in order to establish allocative guidelines based on efficiency and effectiveness within the public sector. Methodology. This bivariate correlation analysis examined 2,504 FEMA Region 6 communities that were eligible to receive HMA funding between the years 2000 and 2017 based upon NFIP participation and inclusion in a presidentially declared, flood-related disaster. A Pearson’s correlation coefficient was conducted utilizing HMA dollars allocated as the dependent variable and historical damages, number of repetitive loss properties, and estimated income per capita as the three independent variables. Findings. This study found a statistically significant, positive, correlation at the 99% confidence level for each of the three independent variables. However further analysis indicated that 38 outliers significantly impacted the strength of the correlations and that these outliers were associated with extraordinary, large scale, disasters. Conclusions and Recommendations. This study concludes that based on the strength of correlation and indicated relationship between FEMA’s HMA allocation and a community’s historical damages and number of repetitive loss properties, FEMA is currently allocating its limited resources in an effective and efficient manner. However, evidence suggests that this efficiency and effectiveness is reduced in smaller scale disasters. Furthermore, this study recommends additional analysis with a more holistic damage data set that captures damages beyond those recorded by the NFIP.
A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Doctor of Public Administration
Public Administration