Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2021

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Public Management and Policy

First Advisor

Ann-Margaret Esnard

Second Advisor

Helena Mitchell

Third Advisor

Gordon Kingsley

Fourth Advisor

Lindsey Bullinger

Fifth Advisor

John Thomas


My dissertation identifies the impacts of administrative burden on individuals and communities through differential federal recovery assistance allocation. I present four essays that evaluate the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) direct-to-households grant program and the Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster home loan program. These are large federal programs directed at providing recovery assistance to individuals. I also utilize the Kaiser Family Foundation/Episcopal Health Foundation Harvey Anniversary Survey to assess perceptions of recovery by individuals who applied to FEMA and/or SBA for disaster assistance.

I find that disparities in funding exist for specific demographic profiles, particularly persons with disabilities. Moreover, administrative burdens vary along the process of interacting with federal agencies. Such burdens result in the lower allocation of federal resources, self-reported recovery, and negative perceptions of fairness and equity. Lastly, communities that experience lower administrative burdens in acquiring federal recovery dollars see faster growth in home equity after the disaster, presenting implications for burden presence and future wealth generation. My findings expand administrative burden theory by pointing to nuanced forms of onerous experiences which impact citizen outcomes. These experiences include procedural, exclusion, and delivery burdens at strategic points within the administrative process. These distinct forms of administrative burdens influence allocation of federal assistance, recovery, wealth, and perceptions of the broader society.