Moral Hazard in Flooding Disasters

Moral hazard occurs when people do not assume the full risk of an action or decision; they are not inclined to make a fully responsible or moral choice. Kevin Starbuck, the Assistant City Manager, Community Services at the the City of Amarillo states that over the course of the last half-century, federal government involvement in providing disaster assistance has greatly expanded. With this expansion, many believe that in providing disaster assistance, the federal involvement limits risk reduction and contributes to the rise of a moral hazard. Flooding and flood-related hazards are the most prominent and significant hazards in the United States, accounting for the highest percentage of major disaster declarations and direct economic losses. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) aims to reduce the impact of flooding through hazard identification and risk assessment, floodplain management, and flood insurance.

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