Opening a Policy Window: The Costa Rican Hospital Retrofit and Seismic Insurance Programs 1986-1992

March 1994 (VOL. 12, NO. 1)

Download this article

In December 1986, the Costa Rican Social Security System formally initiated a seismic retrofit program for several of its principal hospitals as well as its administrative headquarters. Between 1983 and 1991 it also implemented a number of major changes in the seismic insurance coverage afforded its installations. Based on full access to internal documents and thirty-four in-depth interviews with key actors, the author examines the role of “focusing” disaster events and the financial, technical, professional, and ethical considerations behind these major innovations in earthquake protection policy.