Do Catastrophes in Poor Countries Lead to Event-Related Policy Change?: The 2010 Earthquake in Haiti

Denise D.P. Thompson


Prompted by Birkland and Warnement’s (2014) findings that the earthquake was not a significant focusing event in Haiti, the author reassessed the issue. Using the 2010 earthquake as the starting point, a detailed content analysis of evaluation and strategy report and DRR and developmental plans to find the level of policy adopted and implemented after the earthquake. Using the criterion of event-related implementation as a proxy for event-related policy change the author judges whether and to what extent was the earthquake a focusing event. Among the findings are that not only were there event-related policy change inside and outside of Haiti. Many policy changes were significant in the way they shaped development policy, disaster risk reduction policy and practice as well as humanitarian policy and practices and the tools and methods used in planning for and responding to catastrophes. The more fundamental question is whether, once adopted and implemented, the policy changes can be sustained.  Findings show significant challenges in that regard. 

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Journal of Public Administration and Governance  ISSN 2161-7104


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