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

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  • Rehdanz, Katrin
  • Welsch, Heinz
  • Narita, Daiju
  • Okubo, Toshihiro

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.

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  • Rehdanz, Katrin & Welsch, Heinz & Narita, Daiju & Okubo, Toshihiro, 2013. "Well-being effects of a major negative externality: The case of Fukushima," Kiel Working Papers 1855, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifwkwp:1855
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Shukla, Jyoti & Yukutake, Norifumi & Tiwari, Piyush, 2021. "On Well-Being of Households in Japan and Post-Disaster Reinstatement," ADBI Working Papers 1214, Asian Development Bank Institute.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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, Springer, vol. 67(2), pages 211-229, June.
    8. 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 of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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.
    12. 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.
    13. Ahmadiani, Mona & Ferreira, Susana, 2016. "Well-being Effects of Extreme Weather Events in the US," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, Boston, Massachusetts 236259, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    14. 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).
    15. 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.
    16. 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).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Fukushima; subjective well-being; nuclear disaster; difference-in-differences; willingness to pay;
    All these keywords.

    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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