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Coordination Under Uncertain Conditions : An Analysis of the Fukushima Catastrophe

  • Masahiko Aoki

    (Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI))

  • Geoffrey Rothwell

This paper analyzes the impacts of the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan, which were amplified by a failure of coordination across the plant, corporate, industrial, and regulatory levels, resulting in a nuclear catastrophe, comparable in cost to Chernobyl. It derives generic lessons for industrial structure and regulatory frame of the electric power industry by identifying the two shortcomings of a horizontal coordination mechanism : instability under large shock and the lack of “defense in depth.†The suggested policy response is to harness the power of “open-interface-rule-based modularity†by creating an independent nuclear safety commission and an independent system operator owning the transmission grids in Japan. We propose a transitory price mechanism that can restrain price volatility while providing investment incentives.

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Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Governance Working Papers with number 23220.

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Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:eab:govern:23220
Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
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  1. Bushnell, James & Hobbs, Benjamin F. & Wolak, Frank A., 2009. "When It Comes to Demand Response, Is FERC Its Own Worst Enemy?," The Electricity Journal, Elsevier, vol. 22(8), pages 9-18, October.
  2. Ricardo Alonso & Wouter Dessein & Niko Matouschek, 2008. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization? Corrigendum," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(3), pages 1195-96, June.
  3. Masahiko Aoki, 2013. "Toward an Economic Model of the Japanese Firm," Chapters, in: Comparative Institutional Analysis, chapter 18, pages 315-341 Edward Elgar.
  4. Alonso, Ricardo & Dessein, Wouter & Matouschek, Niko, 2006. "When Does Coordination Require Centralization?," CEPR Discussion Papers 5802, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Aoki, Masahiko & Takizawa, Hirokazu, 2002. "Information, Incentives, and Option Value: The Silicon Valley Model," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(4), pages 759-786, December.
  6. Rothwell, Geoffrey, 1996. "Organizational Structure and Expected Output at Nuclear Power Plants," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(3), pages 482-88, August.
  7. Aoki, Masahiko, 1986. "Horizontal vs. Vertical Information Structure of the Firm," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(5), pages 971-83, December.
  8. Aoki, Masahiko, 2010. "Corporations in Evolving Diversity: Cognition, Governance, and Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199218530, July.
  9. n/a, 2003. "Book Reviews," The Energy Journal, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 3), pages 151-159.
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