Policy Sciences

, Volume 40, Issue 4, pp 313–334 | Cite as

The economics of emergency response

  • Erwin A. Blackstone
  • Andrew J. Buck
  • Simon Hakim


Federal first responder funding is estimated to be $98 billion below the minimum required level over the 5 years ending in 2010. A significant portion of that shortfall can be covered by savings attained by eliminating non-public-good services, initiating public–private partnerships for meeting peak time demand in emergency situations, and contracting-out other public services. We concentrate on such savings in the context of response to false calls to police, fire, and ambulance services. Solving the false alarm problem for police, fire, and ambulance services and eliminating some non-public-good police services could release significant service-hours and 23.7–31.4% of the required additional Homeland Security (HLS) annual spending. Reducing false alarms means 88,000 police, fire, and ambulance first responders could be shifted to HLS activities.


Emergency response Public goods Private goods Police Fire Ambulance Homeland security 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erwin A. Blackstone
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Buck
    • 1
  • Simon Hakim
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Competitive Government of Temple UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA

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