How do governance systems survive the shock of large-scale natural disasters and adapt to changed post-disaster environment in low-income, fragile states? Through what mechanisms do such extreme events contribute to changes in the governance system? Scholars of political economy and public policy and management seldom explore these questions; more often than not, they focus on how conflict and post-conflict rebuilding processes contribute to state building or governance reforms. Scholars of disaster policy and management often examine specific changes in disaster policy arenas and post-disaster administrative reorganization within the sphere of disaster governance. Drawing on both avenues of scholarship, this dissertation focuses on how catastrophic natural disasters produce a window of opportunity for enacting drastic changes in governance institutions. In so doing, the dissertation argues that increased levels of social trust that emerges to overcome the hardships produced by the destructive forces of nature and to fight against the challenges of post-disaster crises can create pressure and responsibility for leaders to swiftly enact governance reforms. As massive amounts of resources are mobilized for post-disaster relief and reconstruction, leading actors of the governance system are motivated to make the best use of such resources in improving their autonomy and influence. Because natural disasters, just like market shocks and policy changes, have distributional consequences, those actors that have the greatest organizational capacity or preparation prior to the disaster in managing information benefit the v most from the window of opportunity. Taken together, elevated levels of social trust against real and perceived threats, improved levels of resource capacity, and increased levels of organizational capacity to collect, use and exchange information interact together to facilitate reforms in the governance system. The dissertation utilizes the case of the 2015 earthquakes and post-earthquake governance reforms in Nepal as a crucial case study to assess this theory. Using multimethod research design and multiple sources of evidence including filed observations and expert interviews, the dissertation shows how the earthquakes created a window of opportunity for governance reform, and, through the theorized mechanisms of change, contributed to enhanced level of governance capacity in Nepal.
|Commitee:||Comfort, Louise, Joshi, James, Kearns, Kevin, Miller, David|
|School:||University of Pittsburgh|
|School Location:||United States -- Pennsylvania|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Political science, Public administration, Public policy|
|Keywords:||Institutional change, International development, Napal, Natural disasters, Policy reform governance, State building|
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