Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

2017. Ubert, Emanuel. “Investigating the difference in policy responses to the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons and homeowner insurance crises in Florida and Louisiana.” Socio-Economic Review 15 (4): 691-715. Profiled in the Washington Post.

In 2004 and 2005, a series of hurricanes caused record homeowner insurance losses in Florida and Louisiana. Despite comparably sized losses, the two states responded differently to these shocks. Florida expanded state subsidized homeowner insurance, breaking from a free-market response, whereas Louisiana actively promoted private market supply. Comparing the two policy processes reveals that the politics and transformation of homeowner insurance evoked by extreme weather events depend on how concentrated the hurricane impact is and whether it effectively mobilizes homeowners into electoral politics. The broader distribution of losses in Florida prompted homeowners to exert sufficient electoral pressure to influence policy responses, fostering political dynamics emphasized by interest group theories of policy, and a break from the market. The more concentrated hurricane impact in Louisiana blocked homeowners from doing the same, leaving Louisiana’s policymakers free to draw on the institutionalized free-market logic to guide their response to hurricane damages and producing trajectories expected by structural-class theories. The findings highlight the contingency of different approaches to the politics of markets and policy, suggesting that the dynamics proposed by the two theories depend on the distribution and political impact of the problems and shocks involved.

Under Review or in Progress

Ubert, Emanuel. “Organizational Learning and Risk-Taking in Uncertain Environments: Homeowner Insurance Underwriting Amidst Intensifying Hurricane Shocks.” Under Review.

Rare negative shocks generate subjective uncertainty about the state of the world and about firms’ relative exposures to them. How do these uncertainties moderate the effect of performance feedback on changes in organizational risk-taking? To answer this question, the paper investigates annual changes in homeowner insurance underwriting behavior amidst intensifying hurricane shocks in states along the Atlantic and Gulf coast between 1992 and 2013. A qualitative analysis finds that, faced with record hurricanes, insurers updated forward-looking catastrophe models in order to better interpret their performance experiences and to justify changes in their risk exposures. Greater attention to these models also unintentionally introduced loss aversion biases. A multi-level statistical analysis of an original panel dataset finds that performance feedback justified increases in risk-taking at a lower-than-predicted rate when the updated models indicated adequate risk-taking relative to the inferred state of the world or their peers’ risk exposures. Performance feedback justified reductions in risk-taking when the updated models indicated relatively excessive risk-taking. The findings help to theorize the association between learning from performance feedback and organizational risk-taking in scope conditions outside traditional performance feedback theory. Amidst intensifying market disruptions and falling computational costs, similar forward-looking models will play a greater role in experiential learning.

Ubert, Emanuel. “Experiential learning and firm entry into high risk markets.” In Progress.

Book Chapters

2013. Ubert, Emanuel and Michael Bell. “Welcome to the consumption line: sustainability, social organization and the wage-price gap.” Pp. 87 -112 in Innovations In Sustainable Consumption, edited by M. J. Cohen, H. Szejnwald Brown, P. J. Vergragt. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

Policy Reports

2018. Dresser, Laura, Brauning, Matthew, and Ubert, Emanuel. “Investing in Wisconsin’s Future – Closing Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Wisconsin’s Public Higher Education Systems.” Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Available here.

2018. Dresser, Laura, Rogers, Joel, Ubert, Emanuel and Walther, Anna. “State of Working Wisconsin 2018.” Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Available here.

2017. Bert, Rhandi, Dresser, Laura, and Ubert, Emanuel. “Moving Apprenticeship into Manufacturing’s Future: Industrial Manufacturing Technician.” Center on Wisconsin Strategy. Available here.