The goal of this award is to help provide a solid foundation for motivating more comprehensive ways to assess the risk tradeoffs in multi-stakeholder disaster management and resource allocation. This will be accomplished by taking advantage of theoretical decision frameworks such as game theory and prospect theory, and will use robust optimization techniques to address the uncertainty that surrounds disasters. This project will address under-studied questions such as: (a) How should governments and private sectors balance between the funding for emergency preparedness and the funding for disaster relief, when they are uncertain about the disaster location and consequences? (b) How should governments distribute incentives to reduce vulnerability to disasters? and (c) How should decision makers balance equity, efficiency, and effectiveness when preparing for and responding to disasters?
As a 2012 National Research Council report states, "there is currently no comprehensive framework to guide private-public collaboration focused on disaster preparedness, response, and recovery." If successful, this project will help to address this issue by providing insights, practical guidelines, and decision support tools to help save lives and property in the face of disasters. This research will engage many graduate, undergraduate, and high school students, including those from under-represented groups. The models, results, and insight gained will be shared with international, federal, and local representatives through seminars, conferences, publication, media coverage, and websites.