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

SOEPpapers 599, 43 S.

Jan Goebel, Christian Krekel, Tim Tiefenbach, Nicolas R. Ziebarth


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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 significantlyincreased 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 andequalized 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.

Jan Goebel

Board of Directors SOEP and Division Head Data Operation and Research Data Center in the German Socio-Economic Panel study Department

JEL-Classification: I18;I31;Z13;Q54
Keywords: Fukushima, meltdown, nuclear phase·out, mental health, environmental worries, SOEP
Frei zugängliche Version: (econstor)