The Long-Run Consequences of Chernobyl: Evidence on Subjective Well-Being, Mental Health and Welfare

42 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2014

See all articles by Alexander M. Danzer

Alexander M. Danzer

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Natalia Danzer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute

Date Written: June 25, 2014

Abstract

This paper assesses the long-run toll taken by a large-scale technological disaster on welfare, well-being and mental health. We estimate the causal effect of the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe after 20 years by linking geographic variation in radioactive fallout to respondents of a nationally representative survey in Ukraine according to their place of residence in 1986. The psychological effects of this nuclear disaster are large and persistent. More affected individuals exhibit poorer subjective well-being, higher depression rates and lower subjective survival probabilities; they rely more on governmental transfers as source of subsistence. We estimate the aggregate annual welfare loss at 6-8% of Ukraine’s GDP highlighting previously ignored externalities of large-scale catastrophes.

Keywords: Chernobyl, nuclear catastrophe, externality, subjective well-being, mental health, depression, transfer dependency, welfare loss, natural experiment

JEL Classification: I31, I18, D61, Q51, H12

Suggested Citation

Danzer, Alexander M. and Danzer, Natalia, The Long-Run Consequences of Chernobyl: Evidence on Subjective Well-Being, Mental Health and Welfare (June 25, 2014). CESifo Working Paper Series No. 4855, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2463587

Alexander M. Danzer (Contact Author)

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) - Faculty of Economics ( email )

Ludwigstrasse 28
Munich, D-80539
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Natalia Danzer

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute) - Ifo Institute ( email )

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, 01069
Germany

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