Run for the Border

by on October 21, 2010 at 7:05 am in Economics, Political Science, Science | Permalink

By perceiving state borders to be physical barriers that keep disaster at bay, people underestimate the severity of a disaster spreading from a different state, but not the severity of an equally distant disaster approaching from within a state. We call this bias in risk assessment the border bias.

More here.  Amusingly, the authors show that making the border more salient by darkening the border lines on a map can make people feel even more protected.   

Hat tip: Paul Kedrosky.

John Mansfield October 21, 2010 at 4:48 am

Did borders make no difference in handling of the Katrina hurricane?

Roy October 21, 2010 at 6:14 am

They sure did, the storm hit Mississippi directly, La obliquely and Texas not at all, but then came Rita…

Amazingly enough there was a difference in outcome that simple minds such as myself might perfectly equate to borders.

If a disaster is hitting Western Louisiana, I'd rather be in Beaumont (something I never thought I would say). And once the hurricane has passed I'd rather be in Gulfport than Metairie.

Those nice thick borders make all the difference.

Dave Barnes October 21, 2010 at 9:00 am

So, if Congress passes a law mandating that all maps have a thick border between the US and Mexico, then there would no more concerns about illegals crossing the border.

I like this. Way less expensive than the police-state approach.

Seth October 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I've often found borders fascinating, especially how different things can be on the other side. I once crossed a border buried under a river south of Texas and discovered a vastly different world.

That got me thinking about how life could be so different on two sides of a river. Now I'm libertarian.

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