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Natural Disaster, Policy Action, and Mental Well-Being: The Case of Fukushima

Author

Listed:
  • Goebel, Jan

    () (DIW Berlin)

  • Krekel, Christian

    () (DIW Berlin)

  • Tiefenbach, Tim

    () (German Institute for Japanese Studies)

  • Ziebarth, Nicolas R.

    () (Cornell University)

Abstract

We study the impact of the Fukushima disaster on people's mental well-being in another industrialized country, more than 5000 miles distant. The meltdown significantly increased environmental concerns by 20% among the German population. Subsequent drastic policy action permanently shut down the oldest nuclear reactors, implemented the phase-out of the remaining ones, and proclaimed the transition to renewables. This energy policy turnaround is largely supported by the population and equalized the increase in mental distress. We estimate that during the 3 months after the meltdown, Fukushima triggered external monetized health costs worth €250 per distressed citizen – particularly among risk averse women.

Suggested Citation

  • Goebel, Jan & Krekel, Christian & Tiefenbach, Tim & Ziebarth, Nicolas R., 2013. "Natural Disaster, Policy Action, and Mental Well-Being: The Case of Fukushima," IZA Discussion Papers 7691, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7691
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Chisako Yamane & Shoko Yamane & Nattavudh Powdthavee, 2015. "Trust and Happiness: Comparative Study Before and After the Great East Japan Earthquake," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 919-935, September.
    2. Berlemann, Michael, 2016. "Does hurricane risk affect individual well-being? Empirical evidence on the indirect effects of natural disasters," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 99-113.
    3. Tim Tiefenbach & Florian Kohlbacher, 2015. "Happiness in Japan in Times of Upheaval: Empirical Evidence from the National Survey on Lifestyle Preferences," Journal of Happiness Studies, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 333-366, April.
    4. 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.
    5. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:4:p:1813-1832 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Welsch, Heinz & Biermann, Philipp, 2014. "Fukushima and the preference for nuclear power in Europe: Evidence from subjective well-being data," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 171-179.
    7. 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.
    8. Chadi, Adrian, 2014. "Dissatisfied with Life or with Being Interviewed? Happiness and Motivation to Participate in a Survey," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100505, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Takuya Ishino & Akiko Kamesaka & Toshiya Murai & Masao Ogaki, 2014. "Effects of the Great East Japan Earthquake on Subjective Well-Being," RCER Working Papers 588, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
    10. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Chisako Yamane & Shoko Yamane, 2014. "Effect of major disasters on geographical mobility intentions: the case of the Fukushima nuclear accident," ISER Discussion Paper 0903, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    11. 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.
    12. Rehdanz, Katrin & Welsch, Heinz & Narita, Daiju & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2015. "Well-being effects of a major natural disaster: The case of Fukushima," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 500-517.
    13. 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.
    14. Chie Hanaoka & Hitoshi Shigeoka & Yasutora Watanabe, 2015. "Do Risk Preferences Change? Evidence from Panel Data before and after the Great East Japan Earthquake," NBER Working Papers 21400, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Welsch, Heinz & Ferreira, Susana, 2014. "Environment, Well-Being, and Experienced Preference," International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics, now publishers, vol. 7(3-4), pages 205-239, December.
    16. Alessandro Sola, 2018. "The 2015 Refugee Crisis in Germany: Concerns about Immigration and Populism," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 966, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    SOEP; nuclear phase‐out; meltdown; Fukushima; environmental worries; mental health;

    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
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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