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Well-being effects of a major negative externality: The case of Fukushima

Author

Listed:
  • Katrin Rehdanz

    (IFW Kiel)

  • Welsch Heinz

    () (University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics)

  • Daiju Naritaa
  • Toshihiro Okubod

Abstract

Following a major earthquake off the Pacific coast of Japan, a tsunami disabled the power supply and cooling of three reactors in Fukushima, causing a major nuclear accident on 11 March 2011. Based on a quasi-experimental difference-in-differences approach we use panel data for 5,979 individuals interviewed in Japan before and after the accident to analyze the effect of the accident on people’s subjective well-being. Our main hypotheses are that this effect declines with distance to the place of the event but also with distance to other nuclear power plants. To test these hypotheses, we use Geographical Information Systems to merge the well-being data with information on respondents’ distance to the Fukushima nuclear plant and on their proximity to nuclear power stations in general. Our empirical results suggest the existence of significant well-being effects of the combined event of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident that are proportional to proximity to the Fukushima site being equivalent to up to 72 percent of annual household income. We find no evidence for increased nation-wide worry about the presence of nuclear power plants near people’s place of residence.

Suggested Citation

  • Katrin Rehdanz & Welsch Heinz & Daiju Naritaa & Toshihiro Okubod, 2013. "Well-being effects of a major negative externality: The case of Fukushima," Working Papers V-358-13, University of Oldenburg, Department of Economics, revised Jul 2013.
  • Handle: RePEc:old:dpaper:358
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Rehdanz, Katrin & Schröder, Carsten & Narita, Daiju & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2017. "Public preferences for alternative electricity mixes in post-Fukushima Japan," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 262-270.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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).
    7. 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.
    8. Felix Richter & Malte Steenbeck & Markus Wilhelm, 2013. "Nuclear Accidents and Policy: Notes on Public Perception," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 590, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    9. 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.
    10. SUGANO Saki, 2015. "The Well-Being of Elderly Survivors after Natural Disasters: Measuring the impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake," Discussion papers 15069, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    11. Binder, Martin & Blankenberg, Ann-Kathrin, 2016. "Environmental concerns, volunteering and subjective well-being: Antecedents and outcomes of environmental activism in Germany," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 1-16.
    12. Jan Goebel & Christian Krekel & Tim Tiefenbach & Nicholas R. Ziebarth, 2014. "Natural Disaster, Environmental Concerns, Well-Being and Policy Action," CINCH Working Paper Series 1405, Universitaet Duisburg-Essen, Competent in Competition and Health.
    13. repec:ijp:wpaper:1305 is not listed on IDEAS
    14. Saki Sugano, 2016. "The Well-Being of Elderly Survivors after Natural Disasters: Measuring the Impact of the Great East Japan Earthquake," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 67(2), pages 211-229, June.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fukushima; subjective well-being; nuclear disaster; difference-in-differences; willingness to pay;

    JEL classification:

    • D62 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Externalities
    • Q51 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Valuation of Environmental Effects
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming
    • I31 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - General Welfare, Well-Being

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