Daniel P. Aldrich

Northeastern University
Political Science and Public Policy

Department of Political Science
Northeastern University
Boston, MA
daniel.aldrich@gmail.com |  Visit Personal Website

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Daniel P. Aldrich is Full Professor and Director of the Center for Security and Resilience at Northeastern University. He was a Visiting Scholar at the University of Tokyo's Law Faculty in Japan during the 2007-2008 academic year and an AAAS Fellow at USAID during the 2011-2012 academic year. From 2012-2013 he was a visiting Fulbright professor at Tokyo University. During 2006-2007, he was an Advanced Research Fellow at Harvard University's Program on US-Japan Relations. Daniel P. Aldrich received his Ph.D. and M.A. in political science from Harvard University, a M.A. from the University of California at Berkeley, and his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Daniel has focused on the ways in which state agencies interact with contentious civil society over the siting of controversial facilities such as nuclear power plants, airports, and dams. His current research focuses on the role of social capital in post-disaster recovery. He has published a number of peer-reviewed articles alongside research for general audiences. His research has been funded by grants from the Abe Foundation, IIE Fulbright Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Reischauer Institute at Harvard University, the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, and Harvard's Center for European Studies. He has been a visiting scholar at the Japanese Ministry of Finance, the Institute for Social Science at Tokyo University, Harvard University, the Tata Institute for Social Science in Mumbai and the Institut d'etudes politiques de Paris (Sciences Po). He has spent more than three years conducting fieldwork in Japan, India and France.

Aldrich, Daniel P. and Sawada, Yasuyuki. (2015). The Physical and Social Determinants of Mortality in the 3.11 Tsunami. Social Science and Medicine, 124: 66-75.
Abstract: The human consequences of the 3.11 tsunami were not distributed equally across the municipalities of the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan. Instead, the mortality rate from the massive waves varied tremendously from zero to ten percent of the local residential population. What accounts for this variation remains a critical question for researchers and policy makers alike. This paper uses a new, sui generis data set including all villages, towns, and cities on the Pacific Ocean side of the Tohoku region to untangle the factors connected to mortality during the disaster. With data on demographic, geophysical, infrastructure, social capital, and political conditions for 133 municipalities, we find that tsunami height, stocks of social capital, and level of political support for the long-ruling LDP strongly influenced mortality rates. Given the high probability of future large scale catastrophes, these findings have important policy implications for disaster mitigation policies in Japan and abroad.
URL: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/27/
Aldrich, D. (2014). Social Capital and Community Resilience. American Behavioral Scientist , 1-16.
Abstract: Despite the ubiquity of disaster and the increasing toll in human lives and financial costs, much research and policy remain focused on physical infrastructure–centered approaches to such events. Governmental organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security, United States Federal Emergency Management Agency, United States Agency for International Development, and United Kingdom’s Department for International Development continue to spend heavily on hardening levees, raising existing homes, and repairing damaged facilities despite evidence that social, not physical, infrastructure drives resilience. This article highlights the critical role of social capital and networks in disaster survival and recovery and lays out recent literature and evidence on the topic. We look at definitions of social capital, measurement and proxies, types of social capital, and mechanisms and application. The article concludes with concrete policy recommendations for disaster managers, government decision makers, and nongovernmental organizations for increasing resilience to catastrophe through strengthening social infrastructure at the community level.
URL: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/26/
Aldrich, Daniel P. 2013. "A Normal Accident or a Sea-Change? Nuclear Host Communities Respond to the 3/11 Disaster." Japanese Journal of Political Science, 14(2): 261-276.
Abstract: While 3/11 has altered energy policies around the world, insufficient attention has focused on reactions from local nuclear power plant host communities and their neighbors throughout Japan. Using site visits to such towns, interviews with relevant actors, and secondary and tertiary literature, this article investigates the community crisis management strategies of two types of cities, towns, and villages: thosewhich have nuclear plants directly in their backyards and neighboring cities further away (within a 30 mile radius). Responses to the disaster have varied with distance to nuclear facilities but in a way contrary to the standard theories based on the concept of the ‘distance decay function’. Officials in communities directly proximal to nuclear power plants by and large remain supportive of Japan’s nuclear power program, while those in cities and towns at a distance (along with much of the general public) have displayed strong opposition to the pre 3/11 status quo. Using qualitative data, this article underscores how national energy and crisis response policies rest strongly on the political economy, experiences of, and decisions made at the subnational level.
URL: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/22/
Aldrich, Daniel P. 2013. "Rethinking Civil Society-State Relations in Japan After the Fukushima Incident." Polity, 45(2): 249-264.
Abstract: The 3/11 combined disaster in Japan focused both Japanese civil society and government decision makers on the issue of nuclear power. Whereas surveys over the post war period indicated that many Japanese supported the growing role of nuclear power in Japan’s overall energy policy, the current crisis has resulted in a sea-change in public opinion. Even though some scholars have depicted Japanese civil society as comparatively weak and poorly organized, the disaster has stimulated citizen science, prompted large protests, and spurred many to challenge governmental authority. This article investigates the ways that Japan’s relatively stable patterns of state-and-civil-society relations have been reconfigured as a result of the Tohoku disaster.
URL: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/25/
Aldrich, Daniel P. 2008. Site Fights: Divisive Facilities and Civil Society in Japan and the West. Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press.
Abstract: One of the most vexing problems for governments is building controversial facilities that serve the needs of all citizens but have adverse consequences for host communities. Policymakers must decide not only where to locate often unwanted projects but also what methods to use when interacting with opposition groups. In Site Fights, Daniel P. Aldrich gathers quantitative evidence from close to five hundred municipalities across Japan to show that planners deliberately seek out acquiescent and unorganized communities for such facilities in order to minimize conflict. When protests arise over nuclear power plants, dams, and airports, agencies regularly rely on the coercive powers of the modern state, such as land expropriation and police repression. Only under pressure from civil society do policymakers move toward financial incentives and public relations campaigns. Through fieldwork and interviews with bureaucrats and activists, Aldrich illustrates these dynamics with case studies from Japan, France, and the United States. The incidents highlighted in Site Fights stress the importance of developing engaged civil society even in the absence of crisis, thereby making communities both less attractive to planners of controversial projects and more effective at resisting future threats.
URL: http://www.amazon.com/Site-Fights-Divisive-Facilities-Society/dp/0801446198
Aldrich, Daniel P. 2008. "Location, Location, Location: Selecting Sites for Controversial Facilities." Singapore Economic Review, 53(1): 145-172.
Abstract: While a large literature exists on the siting of controversial facilities, few theories about spatial location have been tested on large samples. Using a new dataset from Japan, this paper demonstrates that state agencies choose localities judged weakest in local civil society as host communities for controversial projects. In some cases, powerful politicians deliberately seek to have facilities such as nuclear power plants, dams, and airports placed in their home constituency. This paper then explores new territory: how demographic, political, and civil society factors impact the outcomes of siting attempts. It finds that the strength of local civil society impacts the probability that a proposed project will come to fruition; the greater the concentration of local civil society, the less likely state-planned projects will be completed.
Aldrich, Daniel P. and Kevin Crook. 2008. "Strong Civil Society as a Double-Edged Sword: Siting Trailers in Post-Katrina New Orleans." Political Research Quarterly, 61(3): 379-389.
Abstract: To meet the dire need for housing created by the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans and the staff of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) worked to create lists of potential sites for trailer parks. This procedure took place within an environment of Not In My Back Yard-ism, or NIMBYism, where a number of communities and individuals expressed their opposition to hosting such trailer sites both publicly and privately. We analyze the final list of city-approved sites to track which factors were correlated with larger (or smaller) numbers of trailers and trailer sites per zip code bloc. Our data show that areas which displayed greater levels of social capital, as evidenced by voluntaristic activities such as turning out to vote, were slated for fewer trailers, controlling for race, income, flood damage, area, population density, and other relevant factors. Despite theories uncritically connecting denser social capital with more rapid rebuilding, areas of strong civil society weakened the city’s ability to recover quickly by forcing it to invest more effort in locating amenable sites for temporary housing.
URL: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/3/
Aldrich, Daniel P. 2012. "Building Resilience: Social Capital in Post-Disaster Recovery." Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Abstract: Each year, natural disasters threaten the strength and stability of communities worldwide. Yet responses to the challenges of recovery vary greatly and in ways that aren’t explained by the magnitude of the catastrophe or the amount of aid provided by national governments or the international community. The difference between resilience and disrepair, as Daniel P. Aldrich shows, lies in the depth of communities’ social capital.
URL: http://press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/B/bo13601684.html
Aldrich, Daniel P. (2015). It's Who you Know: Factors Driving Recovery from Japan's 3/11 Disasters. Public Administration.
Abstract: The 11 March 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake affected dozens of coastal communities along the shore of Japan’s Tohoku region. Following the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear meltdowns, utilities, businesses and schools in some towns have bounced back to pre-disaster capacity while other municipalities have lagged behind. The question of which factors accelerate the recovery of business, infrastructure and population after the disaster remains unanswered. This article uses a new dataset of roughly 40 disaster-affected cities, towns and villages in the area to identify the factors connected with recovery. More than tsunami damage, spending on disaster mitigation, population density, economic conditions or financial capability, the most powerful predictor of recovery for a given area is the number of powerful politicians representing the area in the national government. These findings bring with them important policy implications for residents, NGOs and government decision-makers.
URL: https://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/30/
Aldrich, Daniel P. (2017). Trust Deficit: Japanese Communities and the Challenge of Rebuilding Tohoku. Japan Forum.
Abstract: Trust between civil society and the state is a necessary pre-condition for successful public policy in advanced industrial democracies. It is all the more important following a mass catastrophe that affects hundreds of thousands and upends the rhythms of daily life across the country. Choices made by the Japanese government and energy utilities during and after the compounded 11 March 2011 disasters damaged relationships between civil society, utility firms, and the government. This article looks at how decision makers in Japan continue to struggle with a trust deficit and how that gap has altered the behavior of NGOs and civil society as a while. Residents will continue to resist what they see as flawed disaster recovery and nuclear restart processes unless the political system undergoes major reform.
Aldrich, Daniel P. and Crook, Kevin. (2013). Taking the High Ground: FEMA Trailer Siting after Hurricane Katrina" Public Administration Quarterly.
Abstract: Using data on more than 300 census blocks from across New Orleans, Louisiana, this article investigates two steps in the placement of temporary housing after Hurricane Katrina. First, the authors seek to understand the factors that determined whether census blocks were selected for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) trailers. Then, in light of the widespread resistance to the trailers, they focus on variables that influenced whether trailers were successfully placed on those sites. Despite past research arguing that race, collective action potential, and political factors are the primary determinants of facility placement and the success or failure of the attempt, these data show that technocratic criteria dominated. Interestingly, although census blocks in less vulnerable areas were more likely to be selected as locations for FEMA trailer parks than ones in more vulnerable areas, it was precisely the former areas where siting success was less likely. Flood-resistant areas that decision makers chose for housing were less willing to accept such projects than more flood-prone ones.
URL: http://works.bepress.com/daniel_aldrich/24/

Substantive Focus:
Energy and Natural Resource Policy
Environmental Policy PRIMARY
Science and Technology Policy
Social Policy SECONDARY

Theoretical Focus:
Agenda-Setting, Adoption, and Implementation SECONDARY
Policy Analysis and Evaluation PRIMARY