Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Community Resilience; Hazard Risk; Oil Spill; Social Capital; Vulnerability

Major Advisor

Jeffrey P. Osleeb

Associate Advisor

Nathaniel Trumbull

Associate Advisor

Chuanrong Zhang

Associate Advisor

Samuel J. Ratick

Field of Study



Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


The impact of hazard events on human settlements reflects the complex interaction of social and physical systems that challenge the process of defining and operationalizing risks associated with environmental disasters. The objective of this research is to develop a model that examines the inter-relationships between social capital and livelihoods and to thereby estimate their impacts on levels of hazard risk. Social capital is embedded in social networks and institutional frameworks that determine the quantity and quality of resources and services available to people. The proposed hazard risk location model (HRLM) re-specifies hazard risk as a function of the hazard, exposure, and coping ability. First, an autoregressive model is applied to estimate the causal relationship between the dependent variable representing coping ability and variables representing social capital. Second, a threshold analysis examines the relationships between the latent variable (risk) and selected measurement variables representing the hazard, exposure, and coping ability. The model is applied to assess the social and economic impacts of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill across coastal counties in the Gulf of Mexico. Results of the regression analysis reveal that the quantity of social capital and its contribution to coping ability are influenced by locational differences and the type of hazard event. Locational differences are observed in the services provided by social capital across the study area and how these vary over time. This research evaluates the linkages between social capital and livelihoods and underlying spatial processes that determine levels of vulnerability and risk from a hazardous event.