Government as Gardener: Cultivating the Environment for Private Sector Natural Disaster Response
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Previous research has demonstrated the effectiveness of both the private sector and the intermediate institutions of civil society (houses of worship, community organizations, etc.) in responding to immediate and longer-run economic and social needs after a natural disaster. Given those results, and given the existing powers of government, what role should government play in disaster response? By clarifying and enforcing the rules of property and contract, governments can ensure that actors in the market and civil society are best able to lead the processes of response and recovery. In this way, governments should think of themselves as gardeners who cultivate an environment in which the private sector and civil society can be most effective.
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