Nuclear Reactors in Japan: Who Asks for Them, What Do They Do?
Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 909
35 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017 Last revised: 17 Nov 2017
Date Written: June 1, 2017
Japanese communities with nuclear reactors have them because they applied for them, and they applied for them for the money. Among Japanese municipalities, they were some of the most dysfunctional before the reactors had even arrived. These were the villages that had long fought for targeted subsidies, but ignored infrastructural investments. Subsidies operate as a regressive tax on out-migration, of course, and the lack of private-sector infrastructure reduces the returns to high-value human capital. As a result, these were the villages from which the most talented young people had begun to disappear -- even before the reactors arrived. After the communities built the reactors, talented young people continued to leave. Unemployment rose. Divorce rates climbed. And in time, the communities had little other than reactor-revenue on which to rely.
Keywords: nuclear power, social capital, migration
JEL Classification: H84, I38, J12, K32, L32, L94
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation