Weathering Corruption

Posted: 26 Aug 2007

See all articles by Peter T. Leeson

Peter T. Leeson

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Russell S. Sobel

The Citadel - School of Business

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper


Could bad weather be responsible for U.S. corruption? Natural disasters create resource windfalls in the states they strike by triggering federally-provided natural disaster relief. By increasing the benefit of fraudulent appropriation and creating new opportunities for such theft, disaster relief windfalls may also increase corruption. We investigate this hypothesis by exploring the effect of FEMA-provided disaster relief on public corruption. The results support our hypothesis. Each additional $100 per capita in FEMA relief increases the average state's corruption nearly 102 percent. Our findings suggest that notoriously corrupt regions of the United States, such as the Gulf Coast, are in part notoriously corrupt because natural disasters frequently strike them. They attract more disaster relief making them more corrupt.

Suggested Citation

Leeson, Peter T. and Sobel, Russell S., Weathering Corruption. Journal of Law and Economics, Vol. 51, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Peter T. Leeson (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States


George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

3434 Washington Blvd., 4th Floor
Arlington, VA 22201
United States


Russell S. Sobel

The Citadel - School of Business ( email )

171 Moultrie St.
Charleston, SC 29409
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics