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Public Goods in the Field: Katrina Evacuees in Houston

Sam Whitt and Rick K. Wilson
Southern Economic Journal
Vol. 74, No. 2 (Oct., 2007), pp. 377-387
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20111973
Page Count: 11
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Public Goods in the Field: Katrina Evacuees in Houston
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Abstract

Crises and disasters, whether natural or man-made, are defined by conditions of uncertainty, disorder, and stress. In this research, we explore the extent to which individuals who were evacuated from New Orleans to Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina cooperated with one another in a public goods game. The study focuses on predominantly African-American evacuees from New Orleans who were relocated to Houston-area shelters in the weeks immediately after Hurricane Katrina. In this study, 352 evacuees participated in small groups across six different Houston evacuation shelters from September 10 through 19, 2005. The experiments reported here are adaptations of "dictator" and "public goods" experiments. We find strong evidence of group cooperation in the Houston-area shelters.

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