Indiana University SPEA Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy University of Pennsylvania AIR American University

Panel Paper: Risky Business: Publicly Insuring Against Rising Tides

Thursday, November 12, 2015 : 2:25 PM
Gautier (Hyatt Regency Miami)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Michael Goodman and Chad J. McGuire, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Since 1968 the United States has implemented a system of public flood insurance. The system was built on subsidies that have aided in developing and reinforcing a low perception of risk among coastal communities and inhabitants. Recent attempts to update the public flood insurance system to reflect the actual risks posed, in part, by climate induced sea level rise have been largely unsuccessful. This paper argues a path dependence has been created and reinforced through historical federal policy, and it is this path dependence that has hindered new policy proposals aimed at matching community risk perception with the actual risks posed by climate change. The goal of this paper is to provide a plausible context for policymakers when considering the relationship between evidence-based policy and the potential community response to such information, particularly when community perception of risk may not mirror objective assessments of risk.