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Journal of Public Management & Social Policy

Abstract

This paper explores the role of representative bureaucracy and bureaucratic discretion in the allocation of federal disaster assistance to Hurricane Sandy survivors. Through the analysis of focus groups and key informant interviews, this study finds that FEMA home inspectors are not diverse in reference to race and gender; however, inspectors are found to be diverse in reference to place of origin. Although the role that race and gender play in the allocation of resources is found to be unclear, the region from which inspectors come from is found to be influential in the allocation of aid to survivors. As such, this research argues that the study of representative bureaucracy should not be limited to issues of race and gender, but be expanded to include other potentially important characteristics.

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