In the Hands of a Few: Disaster Recovery Committee Networks

41 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2020

See all articles by Timothy Fraser

Timothy Fraser

Northeastern University

Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program

Andrew Small

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Andrew Littlejohn

Leiden University - Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Date Written: February 25, 2020

Abstract

When disaster strikes, urban planners often rely on feedback and guidance from committees of officials, residents, and interest groups when crafting reconstruction policy. Focusing on recovery planning committees after Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters, we compile and analyze a data-set on committee membership patterns across 39 committees with 657 members. Using descriptive statistics and social network analysis, we examine how membership patterns vary among committees and the overlap in committees’ membership. Membership is not representative of Japanese residents in terms of gender or age. Further, we found strong evidence of overlapping membership patterns that led to networks of committee membership not due to chance. This network was characterized by assortativity, high occurrence of triadic relationships, and strong geographic divides between Iwate Prefecture committees and other regional and national committees. Government, business, and civil society members were most frequently represented on committees. Finally, three key participants stood out as significantly more interconnected on and across committees than all others. This study underscores the importance of breadth and diversity in social ties in disaster recovery planning to facilitate equal participation, information, policy implementation and access across communities.

Keywords: Social Network Analyis, Tohoku Disaster, Disaster Committee, Quantitative Analysis, Japan

JEL Classification: C31, I18

Suggested Citation

Fraser, Timothy and Aldrich, Daniel P. and Small, Andrew and Littlejohn, Andrew, In the Hands of a Few: Disaster Recovery Committee Networks (February 25, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3544373 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3544373

Timothy Fraser

Northeastern University ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Daniel P. Aldrich (Contact Author)

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities, Security and Resilience Program ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Andrew Small

Northeastern University - College of Social Sciences and Humanities ( email )

360 Huntington Ave,
Boston, MA 02115
United States

Andrew Littlejohn

Leiden University - Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences ( email )

Pieter de la Court Building
Leiden, 2300 RB
Netherlands

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