Natural-disaster relief management succeeds or fails on the basis of the managers’ ability to gather, evaluate, and act on decentralized, informal knowledge of logistics, local needs, and changing circumstances. The case of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort suggests that commercial and non-profit networks are inherently better suited for grappling with the “knowledge problem” than are central government bureaucracies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Peter T. Leeson is BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at George Mason University.
Russell S. Sobel is a Professor of Economics & Entrepreneurship at The Citadel.
Bureaucracy and GovernmentEconomistsEconomyFree Market EconomicsGovernment and PoliticsPhilosophy and ReligionPublic ChoiceThe Nanny State
Other Independent Review articles by Peter T. Leeson
Spring 2005 Is Government Inevitable?: Comment on Holcombe’s Analysis
Other Independent Review articles by Russell S. Sobel
Winter 2003/04 To Form a More Perfect Union: A New Economic Interpretation of the United States Constitution