Nuclear Reactors in Japan: Who Asks for Them, What Do They Do?

European Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming

Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 909

Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-35

35 Pages Posted: 19 Jun 2017 Last revised: 17 Nov 2017

Date Written: June 1, 2017

Abstract

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

Ramseyer, J. Mark, Nuclear Reactors in Japan: Who Asks for Them, What Do They Do? (June 1, 2017). European Journal of Law and Economics, Forthcoming; Harvard Law School John M. Olin Center Discussion Paper No. 909; Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 17-35. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2986410

J. Mark Ramseyer (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1575 Massachusetts
Hauser 406
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-4878 (Phone)
617-496-6118 (Fax)

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