Graduation Year

Spring 2014

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Mary Evans

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Rights Information

© 2014 Alexander P. Kalish


The power of natural disasters to significantly and drastically alter the lives of the people they touch is vast, and the response rate of the provided aid can be the difference between a successful recovery and not. This study examines the relationship between natural disasters and volunteerism. The analysis makes use of panel data measurements on volunteer rate and volunteer hours per resident as well as FEMA measurements of major natural disasters from 2005 – 2012. I find that states that experience a natural disaster in the current year experience a significant and positive increase in volunteer rate in the year following the disaster. The findings highlight the importance of policy focused on harnessing volunteer labor in the wake of natural disasters.