Destruction from Above: Long-Term Legacies of the Tokyo Air Raids

74 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2019 Last revised: 10 Aug 2020

See all articles by Masataka Harada

Masataka Harada

Fukuoka University - Faculty of Economics

Gaku Ito

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and NERPS, Hiroshima University

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government

Date Written: August 9, 2020

Abstract

What are the long-term effects of community-level destruction? We use historical aerial imagery of the aftermath of the United States’ indiscriminate firebombing of Tokyo during World War II to generate detailed new data on conditionally independent variation in neighborhood-level damages from the air raids. While existing studies based on larger geographical units in Japan and elsewhere find little evidence of persistent negative legacies of bombing campaigns on population outcomes or economic performance, our analysis with these fine-grained data reveals a more nuanced picture. Decades after the bombings, more heavily damaged neighborhoods continue to exhibit worse outcomes on several socioeconomic measures.

Keywords: historical legacies, World War II, Tokyo air raids, causal inference, geographic information systems (GIS), remote-sensing

JEL Classification: C80, D64, D74, I24, J64, K42, N35, N45

Suggested Citation

Harada, Masataka and Ito, Gaku and Smith, Daniel M., Destruction from Above: Long-Term Legacies of the Tokyo Air Raids (August 9, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3471361 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3471361

Masataka Harada (Contact Author)

Fukuoka University - Faculty of Economics

19-1, Nanakuma 8-Chome
Jonan-ku, Fukuoka, Fukuoka 8140180
Japan

Gaku Ito

Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences and NERPS, Hiroshima University ( email )

739-0046
Japan

HOME PAGE: http://gaku-ito.github.io

Daniel M. Smith

Harvard University - Department of Government ( email )

1737 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/danielmarkhamsmith

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