Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

Who pays for the next wave? The American welfare state and responsibility for flood risk

Elliott, Rebecca ORCID: 0000-0001-6983-7026 (2017) Who pays for the next wave? The American welfare state and responsibility for flood risk. Politics & Society, 45 (3). 415 - 440. ISSN 0032-3292

PDF - Accepted Version
Download (457kB) | Preview
Identification Number: 10.1177/0032329217714785


In preparing for and responding to natural hazards and disasters, the welfare state establishes a social contract, distributing responsibilities for what will be collectively managed and what will be individually borne. Drawing on archival, interview, and ethnographic data, this article examines the renegotiation of that social contract through the lens of contested efforts to reform the massively indebted US National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) from 2011 to 2014. In the face of a morally charged debate about deservingness and individual choice, Congress passed legislation that committed to incorporating need-based considerations to the NFIP for the first time. The result defined “deservingness” in terms of ability to pay for risk exposure, qualifying an individualization of responsibility for addressing the problem of flood loss—a problem that might instead demand broader risk sharing, particularly as climate change worsens the threat of flooding.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2017 SAGE Publications
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JK Political institutions (United States)
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 08:50
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2024 21:06

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics