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Measuring nuclear power plant externalities using life satisfaction data: A spatial analysis for Switzerland

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  • Welsch, Heinz
  • Biermann, Philipp

Abstract

We investigate the relationship between Swiss citizens' life satisfaction (understood as a proxy of utility) and the distance of their place of residence from the nearest nuclear power plant. Using survey data for up to 12,264 Swiss citizens, elicited in February–August 2011, and several specifications of distance, we find a statistically and economically significant satisfaction-distance gradient. The gradient is smaller for those who may feel protected by wind direction and topographical conditions, and it differs by age, sex, and the level of education. The satisfaction-distance gradient has changed significantly after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, Japan, indicating a reassessment of distance-dependent nuclear risk due to an information shock.

Suggested Citation

  • Welsch, Heinz & Biermann, Philipp, 2016. "Measuring nuclear power plant externalities using life satisfaction data: A spatial analysis for Switzerland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 98-111.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:126:y:2016:i:c:p:98-111
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.02.016
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    3. Andrés Vargas & Paola Roldán, 2018. "Not too close, not too far: urban parks and subjective well-being in the city of Barranquilla, Colombia," Lecturas de Economía, Universidad de Antioquia, Departamento de Economía, issue 88, pages 183-205, Enero - J.
    4. Erica Delugas and Rinaldo Brau, 2021. "Evaluating the Impact of Energy Poverty in a Multidimensional Setting," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 1), pages 39-66.
    5. Zerrahn, Alexander, 2017. "Wind Power and Externalities," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 245-260.
    6. Heinz Welsch, 2024. "Do National Well-Being Scores Capture NationsU+0027’ Ecological Resilience? Evidence for 124 Countries," Working Papers V-443-24, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jan 2024.
    7. Welsch, Heinz, 2016. "Electricity Externalities, Siting, and the Energy Mix: A Survey," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 10(1), pages 57-94, November.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Nuclear risk; Life satisfaction; Non-market valuation; Spatial equilibrium; Fukushima;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q48 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Energy - - - Government Policy
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock

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