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Natural disasters and their long-term effect on happiness: the case of the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake

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  • Yamamura, Eiji

Abstract

The great Hanshin-Awaji (Kobe) earthquake, which occurred in 1995, resulted in tremendous economic damage to the city of Kobe. Using individual-level data of Japan during the period 2000–08, I investigated the long-term impact of the earthquake on the happiness of surviving victims. After controlling for individual characteristics and characteristics of residential areas, the following key findings were obtained: (1) victims were more likely to feel happy than non-victims; (2) this tendency disappeared with time. This suggests that the aspiration level declined following the experience of the devastating event, which led victims to feel happier. However, victims adapt to the new circumstances with time.

Suggested Citation

  • Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Natural disasters and their long-term effect on happiness: the case of the great Hanshin-Awaji earthquake," MPRA Paper 37505, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:37505
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. William duPont IV & Ilan Noy, 2015. "What Happened to Kobe? A Reassessment of the Impact of the 1995 Earthquake in Japan," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 63(4), pages 777-812.
    3. Berlemann, Michael, 2015. "Hurricane Risk, Happiness and Life Satisfaction. Some Empirical Evidence on the Indirect Effects of Natural Disasters," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113073, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Natural disasters; happiness; subjective well-being; adaptation; aspiration level;

    JEL classification:

    • 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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