Heading for the Hills? Effects of Community Flood Management on Local Adaptation to Flood Risks: Management and Adaptation to Flood Risks
The Community Rating System (CRS) program was implemented by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in 1990 as an optional program to encourage communities to voluntarily engage in flood mitigation initiatives. This article uses national census tract-level data from 1980 to 2010 to estimate whether CRS participation and flood risk affect a community's local patterns of population change. We employ an instrumental-variables strategy to address the potential endogeneity of CRS participation, based on community-scale demographic factors that predict when a tract’s host community joins the CRS. The results find significant effects of the CRS program and flood risk on population change. Taken together, the findings point to greater propensity for community-scale flood management in areas with more newcomers and programs such as CRS stabilizing population, though not especially in flood- prone areas. We observe the CRS neither displacing population toward lower-risk areas nor attracting more people to flood-prone areas.