Dimensions of Recreancy in the Context of Winter Storm Uri

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Virginia Tech


Winter Storm Uri damaged parts of the United States, Mexico, and Canada in February of 2021. The State of Texas was heavily affected due to the institutional failure of Texas's primary power provider, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Despite similar previous storms that exposed weaknesses in the state's power grid system in 1999 and 2011, ERCOT did not make the necessary changes to prevent a future disaster. The purpose of this study is to advance the understanding of the concept of recreancy through the exploration of eight different dimensions of the concept: trust or distrust in institutions; institutional responsibility for disaster preparedness; responsibility for impacts of a disaster; effectiveness or ineffectiveness of institutions in responding to a disaster; an institution's capability of preventing a similar event in the future; an institution's willingness to make changes in their actions or behavior; confidence that an institution will prevent a similar event in the future; and responsibility for compensation for impacts of a disaster. To examine the composition of the concept of recreancy, I analyzed survey data collected in Texas during April and May of 2022. I aggregated and coded survey data according to the level respondents reported to agree with the survey indicators measuring dimensions of recreancy. I utilized Confirmatory Factor Analysis to analyze if the derived dimensions of recreancy measure recreancy, and if some are more salient than others. Confirmatory Factor Analysis revealed variability in the importance of different dimensions of recreancy, suggesting that some dimensions are more salient than others in shaping residents' perceptions of recreancy in the context of Winter Storm Uri. Further analysis revealed a preliminary model to operationalize recreancy, however further analysis is needed.



Cascading Risks, Institutional Failure, NaTech Disaster, Natural Disaster, Recreancy, Risk, Technological Disaster, Winter Storm Uri