Policy diffusion in community-scale flood risk management

Douglas S. Noonan, Lilliard Richardson, Abdul Akeem Sadiq

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study analyzes which communities adopted flood risk management practices during the past 25 years. In particular, we focus on community-scale flood management efforts undertaken voluntarily in towns and counties across the United States. In 1990, the US Federal Emergency Management Agency created the Community Rating System (CRS) to provide incentives to local governments to improve flood resilience. About 1,300 counties and cities voluntarily participate in the CRS, but most eligible communities do not participate. Here, we explore the factors shaping community CRS participation, such as flood risk, socio-economic characteristics, and economic resources, and we assess the competing phenomena of policy diffusion versus free riding. Previous models of community-scale flood mitigation activities have all considered each community’s decision as independent of one another. Yet one community’s flood management activities might directly or indirectly influence its neighbors’ mitigation efforts. Spillover effects or “contagion” may arise if neighboring communities learn from or seek to emulate or outcompete early adopting neighbors. Conversely, stricter regulation in one community may allow its neighbors to capitalize on looser regulation either by attracting more development or enjoying reduced “downstream” flood risks. This paper presents a conceptual model that allows for multiple forces affecting diffusion, such as copycatting and learning from neighboring communities, free-riding on neighbors’ efforts, and competing with neighbors to provide valuable amenities. We empirically test for these alternative diffusion pathways after controlling for the spatially correlated extant flood risks, building patterns, and demographics. The analysis integrates several large datasets to predict community flood risk management for all cities and counties in the US since 1990. Controls for local flood risk combined with a spatial lag regression model allow separate identification of alternative diffusion pathways. The results indicate strong evidence of copycatting and also suggest possible free-riding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRisk Analysis XI
EditorsA. Fabbri, S. Mambretti
PublisherWITPress
Pages81-92
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781784662677
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Event11th International Conference on Computer Simulation in Risk Analysis and Hazard Mitigation 2018 - Seville, Spain
Duration: Jun 6 2018Jun 8 2018

Publication series

NameWIT Transactions on Engineering Sciences
Volume121
ISSN (Print)1743-3533

Conference

Conference11th International Conference on Computer Simulation in Risk Analysis and Hazard Mitigation 2018
CountrySpain
CitySeville
Period6/6/186/8/18

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes
  • Electrochemistry

Cite this

Noonan, D. S., Richardson, L., & Sadiq, A. A. (2018). Policy diffusion in community-scale flood risk management. In A. Fabbri, & S. Mambretti (Eds.), Risk Analysis XI (pp. 81-92). (WIT Transactions on Engineering Sciences; Vol. 121). WITPress. https://doi.org/10.2495/RISK180071