Valid, reliable, and, most importantly, timely information is the most critical aspect for the design and implementation of successful emergency management strategies. This goal, however, is rarely achieved during the aftermath of a disaster. In this paper, we showcase how we used administrative records to assist Mississippi in evaluating the overall impact of Katrina on the state’s economy. Specifically, we assisted the state in developing a methodology to generate valid, reliable, and timely information on (1) the business environment and labor market and (2) rehiring and hiring practices. This information was used by the state to design recovery strategies and justify the necessary funds from federal agencies to assist local communities in their economic recovery. The experience of Mississippi clearly shows that valid, reliable, and timely information is critical for developing effective policy.

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