ABFM Doctoral Student Profile: JoEllen Pope

In preparation for ABFM’s upcoming conference in Denver, I am doing a series of profiles on the doctoral students on the job market.

JoEllen Pope (UNC-Charlotte, Public Policy) is presenting “Isn’t a Flood a Rainy Day? Does the Political nature of Disasters Affect the Use of States’ Rainy Day Funds?” in the 9:45 session on Thursday. This paper is under review at Social Science Quarterly, and is viewable here. She has an MPA with a concentration in Emergency Management, is a practicing CPA, and a firefighter. Her dissertation, supervised by Dr. Suzanne M. Leland, is titled Flooded with Complexity: Do Organizational Structural Complexity, Coordination, and Managerial Discretion Impact Natural Disaster Preparedness?.  She has a publication forthcoming on political influences over election administration expenditures in the American Journal of Political Science and another three papers under review. Here is the abstract of the paper being presented at ABFM:

Objectives: To determine if state lawmakers exploit Rainy Day Funds for political purposes in the aftermath of disasters rather than their intended purpose of combatting state economic downturns.

Methods: This research draws from multiple state-level data sources to construct a panel data set from 1992-2010.

Results: Disaster damage, relief funds, and politics all influence the level of states’ rainy day funds. We also find that politicians will tend to draw down the RDF balance more as disaster damages increases when it is an election year and the same party holds party control of the governor and legislature.

Conclusion: These findings are consistent with representative democracy and institutional theory, which argue that a state government’s action is comprised of a collection of choices made by individuals and those individuals seek to maximize their utility (re-election). This in turn produces political as opposed to more efficient decision-making in determining the use of RDFs.

Find more of JoEllen Pope’s research, teaching, and interests see her website here.

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