Lessons of Disaster: Policy Change After Catastrophic Events / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Rent from BN.com
(Save 67%)
Est. Return Date: 07/28/2015
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $22.07
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 18%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $22.07   
  • New (9) from $22.92   
  • Used (4) from $22.07   


This book explores the extent to which our government actually learns from disasters, whether humanly caused, from aviation security fiascoes to terrorism, or natural, such as hurricanes and earthquakes. Political scientists have well documented the role of disasters in setting policy agendas--in getting policymakers to think about the problem--but do they take then next step and actually improve policies through new legislation or regulations as a result?
Birkland examines when and how a cataclysmic event serves as a catalyst for policy changes. He probes the necessary conditions, including media attention, salience for a large portion of the public, the existence of advocacy groups for the issue, and the preexistence of policy ideas that can be drawn upon. He identifies three types of policy change: change in the larger social construction of the issues surrounding the disaster; instrumental, in which laws and regulations are enacted; and political, in which alliances are created and shifted.
In looking at the four areas of aviation security, September 11, earthquakes, and hurricanes, Birkland identifies similarities and differences in the degrees to which lessons are learned, depending in part on the type of the disaster and the kinds of interest groups involved. He concludes with a look at the interplay of disasters by looking at the initial government responses to Hurricane Katrina and the negative effect that the September 11 catastrophe seems to have had on any potential response to that natural disaster.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589011212
  • Publisher: Georgetown University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2006
  • Series: American Governance and Public Policy Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,271,656
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas A. Birkland is the William T. Kretzer Professor of Public Policy in the School of Public and International Affairs at North Carolina State University. He is the author of After Disaster: Agenda Setting, Public Policy, and Focusing Events.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents




1. Theories and Models of Policy Change and LearningKnowledge, Learning, and Policy ChangeA Model of Event-Related Policy ChangeLearning and Lessons in This StudyMethodsThe Case StudiesConclusion

2. September 11, Learning, and Policy ChangeWhat is Homeland Security?Events and Reports: The Emergence of the Homeland Security ProblemThe September 11 Attacks as Focusing EventsSeptember 11, Policy Failure, Learning, and ChangeConclusions: Learning after September 11

3. Learning from Aviation Security DisastersHistorical Trends in Aviation SecurityAgenda Change and Security IncidentsPolicy Change, Learning, and ImplementationImplementation Problems in Aviation SecurityConclusions

4. Learning From Earthquakes and HurricanesWhy Natural Hazards MatterDisaster Mitigation as a Primary Goal of Disaster PolicyEarthquakes and Hurricanes on National and Local AgendasLegislation and RegulationLearning from Disasters at the State and Local LevelConclusions

5. Summary and ConclusionsLearning and the Policy ProcessRevisiting the PropositionsAssessing the Elements of the ModelFactors that Promote and Inhibit LearningFocusing Events and the Accumulation of KnowledgePolicy Implementation and LessonsHurricane Katrina and the Unlearning Of LessonsNotes

ReferencesIndex Notes

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)