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How natural disasters can affect environmental concerns, risk aversion, and even politics: evidence from Fukushima and three European countries

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  • Jan Goebel

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  • Christian Krekel

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  • Tim Tiefenbach

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  • Nicolas Ziebarth

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Abstract

We study the impact of the Fukushima disaster on environmental concerns, well-being, risk aversion, and political preferences in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK. In these countries, overall life satisfaction did not significantly decrease, but the disaster significantly increased environmental concerns among Germans. One underlying mechanism likely operated through the perceived risk of a similar meltdown of domestic reactors. After Fukushima, more Germans considered themselves as “very risk averse.” However, drastic German policy action shut down the oldest reactors, implemented the phaseout of the remaining ones, and proclaimed the transition to renewables. This shift in energy policy contributed to the subsequent decrease in environmental concerns, particularly among women, Green party supporters, and people living in close distance to the oldest reactors. In Germany, political support for the Greens increased significantly, whereas in Switzerland and the UK, this increase was limited to people living close to reactors. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Suggested Citation

  • Jan Goebel & Christian Krekel & Tim Tiefenbach & Nicolas Ziebarth, 2015. "How natural disasters can affect environmental concerns, risk aversion, and even politics: evidence from Fukushima and three European countries," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(4), pages 1137-1180, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:jopoec:v:28:y:2015:i:4:p:1137-1180
    DOI: 10.1007/s00148-015-0558-8
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    Cited by:

    1. Hetschko, Clemens & Preuss, Malte, 2015. "Income in Jeopardy: How losing employment affects the willingness to take risks," Discussion Papers 2015/32, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    2. Paul Dolan & Georgios Kavetsos & Christian Krekel & Dimitris Mavridis & Robert Metcalfe & Claudia Senik & Stefan Szymanski & Nicolas R. Ziebarth, 2016. "The Host with the Most? The Effects of the Olympic Games on Happiness," PSE Working Papers halshs-01349354, HAL.
    3. Adrian Chadi & Matthias Krapf, 2017. "The Protestant Fiscal Ethic: Religious Confession And Euro Skepticism In Germany," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 55(4), pages 1813-1832, October.
    4. Bahadır Dursun & Resul Cesur, 2016. "Transforming lives: the impact of compulsory schooling on hope and happiness," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 29(3), pages 911-956, July.
    5. Ando, Michihito & Dahlberg, Matz & Engström, Gustav, 2017. "The risks of nuclear disaster and its impact on housing prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 154(C), pages 13-16.
    6. Adrian Chadi, 2017. "There Is No Place like Work: Evidence on Health and Labor Market Behavior from Changing Weather Conditions," IAAEU Discussion Papers 201709, Institute of Labour Law and Industrial Relations in the European Union (IAAEU).
    7. repec:eee:ecolec:v:141:y:2017:i:c:p:245-260 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. repec:ebl:ecbull:eb-17-00586 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Chadi, Adrian, 2015. "Concerns about the Euro and happiness in Germany during times of crisis," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 126-146.
    10. Zerrahn, Alexander & Krekel, Christian, 2015. "Sowing the Wind and Reaping the Whirlwind? The Effect of Wind Turbines on Residential Well-Being," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112956, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    11. Tiefenbach, Tim & Kohlbacher, Florian, 2015. "Disasters, donations, and tax law changes: Disentangling effects on subjective well-being by exploiting a natural experiment," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 94-112.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fukushima; Nuclear phaseout; Environmental concerns; Well-being; Risk aversion; Green party; I18; I31; Q54;

    JEL classification:

    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • 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

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    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Nuclear Accidents and Policy: Notes on Public Perception (SOEPpapers 2013) in ReplicationWiki
    2. How natural disasters can affect environmental concerns, risk aversion, and even politics: evidence from Fukushima and three European countries (JPopE 2015) in ReplicationWiki

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