Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Disaster Science


Disaster Science

First Advisor

Dr. Wallace G. Harris

Second Advisor

Dr. Janet Clements

Third Advisor

Dr. Julie Weatherington-Rice


The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund was the largest victim compensation fund in U.S. history, disseminating more than $7B federal tax monies directly to survivors, victims and their respective families following the terrorist attacks of that day. This represented an unprecedented effort on the part of the U.S. government to fully fund terrorism victim compensation within a no-fault framework intended, first and foremost, to protect the airline industry from potential economic ruin. But in so doing, the Fund compromised legal, ethical, economic and sociological principles on which victim compensation had been based since the inception of government. This interdisciplinary exploratory case study of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund analyzes the Fund from a holistic perspective and evaluates the complex forces contributing to global victim compensation theory. The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund should not serve as a model for governmental assistance but instead highlights the need for universal consistency of nomenclature and intention. Globally, government's role in victim compensation has become normative, but a lack of equivalency across national boundaries undermines the social solidarity required by such initiatives. Toward this end, the U.S. government, working in concert with the EU and CoE must strive to develop a single-minded model for this victim class.